May 24, 2019 ~ Shabbat BEHAR. M: NAWAH/SABA.

Shabbat Bemidbar - שבת במדבר

Know Your Position

ואיש על דגלו לצבאתם - Traveling in a wilderness is no easy task. After the exodus from Egypt, Moses has the hard task of leading the Israelites through the desert and into the Promised Land. In order to successfully mobilize, God says that the people need to be organized; each person in their respective proper position (ואיש על דגלו לצבאתם). For example, the Levites have the position adjacent to the Tabernacle handling its holy utensils. The Torah (Numbers 1:51), in a stark warning against overstepping ones boundaries, warns that this task is specific to the Levites and that any non-Levite "stranger" who tries to overstep their bounds and perform Levite tasks "shall die" (והזר הקרב יומת). In our community, each person is very unique and has a specific role. In order for us to mobilize and reach our final destination as a community, each individual must find their own position and play their role for the benefit of the greater good. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 19, 2018.


מנגד סביב לאהל מועד יחנו - A major theme in the Book of Numbers is maintaining peace and unity despite the many differences that existed among the people. When Israel journeyed through the wilderness, the camp was organized by flags (דגלים). Each of these flags represented different groups of people with different backgrounds, values, and ideals. At the center of all four camps, however, was the one unifying factor: the Tabernacle. For all intents and purposes, the nation originated with great divisions. This book, however, comes to illustrate that when it came to their recognition of God, commitment to the Torah, and the sanctity of the Tabernacle, each person put their differences aside and agreed to join hands and work together. This sense of unity has turned a lowly group of former slaves into a very proud nation that continues to exist more than 3,329 years later. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 27, 2017.