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This Week's The Torah Portion: "B'midbar"


This week, we begin the fourth book of the Torah, the Book of Numbers. Known in Hebrew as "B'midbar", literally, "In the Desert", it retells the story of Israel's journey, homeward, across the desert to the Promised Land. The book chronicles the major events that occurred to the Israelites along the way - their triumphs, as well as their debacles. The English title of the book, "Numbers", derives from its opening passage: ...The Lord spoke to Moses in the second year after the Exodus: "...Number the Israelites!" Moses carries out G-d's command, numbering the Israelite adults. The figure arrived at is 603,550.

The nation, which has been dwelling at the foot of mount Sinai for over a year now, is eager to launch its trip to the Promised Land! The 12 tribes are now assigned a specific formation for the journey. The priestly tribes of Kohen and Levi, will march protectively around the Tabernacle. The positions of the remaining tribes, which will form a circle around the priestly tribes, are now given. The Israelites are ready to set out for their homeland!

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Alvin Wainhaus

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