Weekly Reading Insights: Bamidbar 5764



Overview of the Weekly Reading: Bamidbar

To be read on 2 Sivan 5764 (May 22nd )
Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftorah: Hosea 2:1-22 (begins: "The numbers of the Children of Israel")

Bamidbar is the 1sth Reading out of 10 in Numbers and 34th overall, and 3rd out of 54 in overall length.

Pirkei Avot: Chapter Six

Bamidbar begins by relating how Moshe, Aharon, and a prince from each tribe took a census of the Jews (the tribe of Levi was excluded from this census). Then, G-d explains the Levite service in taking apart and reassembling the Tabernacle during the Jews’ travels in the desert. Then is described the location of each tribe’s encampment. The next section deals with the genealogy of Aharon; the status of the Levites in assisting the priests’ service in the Tabernacle; and the Levites taking the place of the firstborn (who were originally intended to serve in the Tabernacle, but lost this privilege by sinning with the golden calf.) Then, G-d commands Moshe to take a census of the Levites, a census of the firstborns, and redeem the firstborns who were in excess of the Levites. The concluding section describes the Tabernacle duties of the Kehos family of Levites.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:34-64/Bamidbar)

Rebbe Shimon answered him, saying, "Woe to the people of the world that are not aware [to take care to perform the mitzvot and learn Torah, which brings blessing to all the world]. People don't see the glory of King on high.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:34-64/Bamidbar)

In order to concretize the reality of divinity in this world, the female must evince great strength and power so as not to be overcome by the distracting forces of evil.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the Shelah, Shney Luchot HaBrit by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (S:34-64/Behar-Bechukotai)

When they do perform the will of their Maker, however, even their enumeration does not constitute something finite, something that imposes limitations on their development. Then it is not something negative. On the contrary, the counting is very beneficial.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"G-d spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai." (1:1)
The Midrash relates that G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people via fire, water, and in the desert, to teach us how a Jew merits to acquire its learning: Fire is symbolic of the fiery enthusiasm and craving for G-dliness that exists within the heart of every Jew; water is symbolic of the temperance and clarity of thought necessary for Torah study; and the desert symbolizes the need to put aside all worldly pleasures that might interfere with the attainment of perfection.
(Shem MiShmuel)

"Take the sum of all the congregation of the Children of Israel." (1:2)
According to Jewish law, "Once an object has been counted it can never become nullified, even in a quantity of a thousand." Because G-d did not want the Jewish people to become lost among the world's non-Jewish majority, He counted them to make sure it can never happen.
(Chidushei HaRim)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:34-64/Bamidbar)

Rebbe Michil of Zlotshuv once said about himself to the Maggid of Kuznitz, that every thought that came into his mind about serving G-d, he completed it.
How often in a day do we think about really changing some negative trait; how wonderful it would be to get a good class going on some Torah topic; or how an important cause could use some monetary help or voluntary work.
But then in the next thought we think about how we must wash the car, or about an urgent need to call the dentist, or even how great it would be if we could buy a new home, and the first thought we had, about our spiritual life, is whisked away, completely forgotten-or if we are lucky, remembered sometime later but unfortunately only marginally as important to us as it was when it came up the first time.
Is it actually possible in our world of conflicts to fulfill every reasonable spiritual thought? The Maggid of Kuznitz thought so, and based his proof on a verse from this week's Torah portion. In Bamidbar 2/2 it speaks about the arrangement of the tribes around the Tabernacle.
It says, "Every man on his flag, with the signs of his father's house". He uses an analogy that when a craftsman or artist thinks about his creation, most certainly he decides to finish it in the most beautiful way. Nevertheless, since he is flesh and blood, when it actually comes to completion, it is rarely possible to bring out his full dream into reality, that the final action will be exactly what he first had in mind.
But our Creator does not have this same limitation. In fact, it is one of the most subtle and beautiful truths about G-d, that the final creation which is our reality is what G-d first had in mind. The verse is telling us that each person, as a descendent of the original tribes of Israel, has the power to bring to fruition our positive aspirations. This ability is part of the commandment to be like G-d. Just as G-d completes each of His thoughts in its entirety, so each of us-at least in those thoughts connected to serving G-d-can also achieve this. "Every man on his flag" refers to completing some intended action, the flag signifying completion.
"With the signs of his father's house" is a hint that it was completed according to a person's initial thoughts. 'Father' in Kabbala is a reference to a person's preliminary thought, since a father is the source from where the first seed comes in creating offspring. 'Father' serves as an analogy for a person's thought process and how it is later 'born' into action.
This teaches us that just as the first thought of serving G-d rose up in a person's mind, so he or she will come to complete it. May the Almighty give all of us the strength and determination to bring our aspirations into reality.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul Leiter

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