10 Sivan 5778 / Thursday, May 24, 2018 | Torah Reading: Nasso
 
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Parshat Bamidbar    

Parshat Bamidbar



In the Sinai Desert, G-d says to conduct a census of the twelve tribes of Israel. Moses counts 603,550 men of draftable age...

 



Parshat Bamidbar
(Bamidbar 1:1 - 4:20)
 
 
In the Sinai Desert, God says to conduct a census of the twelve tribes of Israel. Moshe (Moses) counts 603,550 men eligible to be drafted (20 to 60 years); the tribe of Levi, numbering 22,300 males age one month and older, is counted separately. The Levites are to serve in the Sanctuary, replacing the firstborn, whose number they approximated, who were disqualified when they participated in the worshipping of the Golden Calf. The 273 firstborn who lacked a Levite to replace them had to pay a five-shekel "ransom" to redeem themselves.
 
When the people broke camp, the three Levite clans dismantled and transported the Sanctuary, and reassembled it at the center of the next encampment. They then erected their own tents around it: the Kehatites, who carried the Sanctuary's vessels (the ark, menorah, etc.) in their specially designed coverings on their shoulders, camped to its south; the Gershonites, in charge of its tapestries and roof coverings, to its west; and the families of Merrari, who transported its wall panels and pillars, to its north. Before the Sanctuary's entranceway to its east were the tents of Moshe, Aharon (Aaron) and Aharon's sons.
 
Beyond the Levite circle, the twelve tribes camped in four groups of three tribes each. To the east were Yehuda (Judah) (pop. 74,600), Yissachar (Issachar) (54,400) and Zebulun (57,400); to the south, Reuben (46,500), Shimon (Simeon) (59,300) and Gad (45,650); to the west, Ephraim (40,500), Menasseh (32,200) and Binyamin (Benjamin) (35,400); and to the north, Dan (62,700), Asher (41,500) and Naphtali (53,400). This formation was kept also while traveling. Each tribe had its own nassi (prince or leader), and its own flag with its tribal color and emblem.
 
 
(Used with permission from chabad.org)




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