<I>Bamidbar</I>: The Saga Continues

Picking up the story from where we left off.

Aloh Naaleh,

Judaism aliyah-r.jpg
Arutz 7
Our parasha begins the fourth of the books of the Torah. It is known variously as Chumash HaPekudim (the book of countings) and Sefer Bamidbar (the book of the desert).

Going back to the end of Sefer Shemot, we witness the construction and consecration of the Mishkan, which, according to the Ramban, is the continuation and culmination of the Divine revelation on Mount Sinai. This is followed by Sefer Vayikra, a book in which almost nothing "happens" as far as a chronological continuation of Chumash is concerned. Instead, Vayikra is primarily focused on the rituals centered around the newly built Mishkan.

Sefer Bamidbar, then, is a second continuation of Sefer Shemot, picking up the story of the journey of the people of Israel after the construction of the Mishkan.
The ultimate goal is not just leaving Egypt or entering the Land of Israel.

The opening chapters of Sefer Bamidbar are seemingly mundane. First, all the tribes are counted and then the numbers appear again, as we are told which tribes camped together and where each group was located. However, the text emphasizes that the camp is around the Mishkan.

The story of Sefer Bamidbar is how to take the Mishkan, with all its spiritual elevation and ritual, and construct a real, this-worldly society based on its values. Only after the people of Israel construct a society - an encampment - surrounding and partaking of the idea of the Mishkan does God signal that the time has come to head for Eretz Israel.

The ultimate goal is not just leaving Egypt or entering the Land of Israel, but ensuring that we establish a just and upright society, firmly anchored by our relationship to God.
Noa Jeselsohn made Aliyah ten years ago and lives in Alon Shevut with her husband and four children. She teaches at Midreshet Lindenbaum, the Emunah v’Omanut program and is a yoetzet Halacha.

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.