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This week's 10-Minute Torah (June 4, 2022): "Parashat Bamidbar" 5782

Parashat Bamidbar 5782 / פָּרָשַׁת בְּמִדְבַּר

4 June 2022 / 5 Sivan 5782 (Diaspora)

Parashat Bamidbar is the 34th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Bamidbar (“In The Desert”) is the first Torah portion in the Book of Numbers. It describes God's command to take a census and details the camping formation of the Israelites in the desert. It also begins to enumerate the responsibilities of the Levites when transporting the Mishkan (Tabernacle). [1]

Triennial year 3

1: 3:14-20 · 7 p’sukim ·

2: 3:21-26 · 6 p’sukim ·

3: 3:27-39 · 13 p’sukim ·

4: 3:40-43 · 4 p’sukim ·

5: 3:44-51 · 8 p’sukim ·

6: 4:1-10 · 10 p’sukim ·

7: 4:11-20 · 10 p’sukim ·

maf: 4:17-20 · 4 p’sukim ·

Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-22 · 22 p’sukim

Commentary and Divrei Torah : Sefaria OU Torah Jewish Theological Seminary

Our Triennial portion (third) starts discussing the transporting duties of the first of the three Levite clans after describing their positions around the Tabernacle. The Kohathites had the profound responsibility of transporting the holiest of the Tabernacle objects, the sacred utensils. This was not a mundane task. These objects had to be covered with blue cloths before placing them to be transported.

What made this task so awesome was that looking at the actual object may mean death at the hands of Heaven. It was stated in the Torah that if someone besides the High Priest were to glance at these objects, they would die. Some sages don’t interpret this warning literally. Some felt that gazing at them might them seem more ordinary than holy and thus they might lose respect for what they represented. Others felt that gazing at them might put some in a spiritual trance; this would create a false holiness and suggest worshipping that object by staring at it.

In any case, it was important that these ministers gave these objects their appropriate respect. This might also be why this clan is mentioned first.

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