Please enter your username and password below.
Every purchase you make through our marketplace helps to support us financially.
D'VAR TORAH Insight into Parashat B’midbar Richard A. Block
After weeks of dwelling upon the ideal, the vision that Leviticus sets forth of the pure and holy community the Israelites were commanded to construct, B’midbar (“In the Wilderness”), the Book of Numbers, brings the Torah back to the real, nitty-gritty world of conflict, dissension, and turmoil. This consumes nearly thirty-nine of the Israelites’ forty years of wandering in the Sinai on their circuitous journey to the Promised Land.
The first portion of Numbers, which shares the name of the book itself, takes up where Exodus left off, beginning with a census of men of military age and a description of tribal encampments and priestly clan assignments. In our parashah, all is neat and orderly. The Israelites are arranged symmetrically around the Tent of Meeting under the standards of their ancestral houses, troop by troop. The Levites’ ancestral houses and clans are similarly, but separately, counted and arrayed, their duties designated, their places in the priestly hierarchy specified. Though reference is made to the sudden, traumatic deaths of Nadab and Abihu (Numbers 3:4), no hint is given here of dissatisfaction, dissension, or discord.