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

Shabbat Naso - שבת נשא

From Age 30

מבן שלשים שנה ומעלה - In the census of the Israelite army, all males from the age of 20 are counted. When it comes to the Levites in the Tabernacle, however, only those 30 and above are counted (Numbers 4:23). This is a ten year discrepancy! By contrasting these numbers, God teaches that when it comes to the physical pursuit of fighting in wars, the young age of 20 is enough, but when it comes to the spiritual pursuit of serving in the Tabernacle, greater skill and maturity is required. In addition, when it comes to acting as God's emissary, one must be fully ready from Day One. There is "no learning on the job" and "no room for error." The extra ten years give Levites the opportunity to shadow their peers for their future roles. In the pursuit of most professions, it is of utmost importance to devote many years of learning, preparation, and shadowing so that one minimizes initial errors and so that one gets a good start to their career. Beth Torah Bulletin, May 26, 2018.

The Priestly Blessing

כה תברכו את בני ישראל - In 1979, at the Ketef Hinnom archaeological site, southwest of Jerusalem, two silver scrolls, containing the earliest known biblical text (circa 650-587 BCE), were discovered. These scrolls, originally used as amulets, contained Paleo-Hebrew inscriptions of the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). Finding these specific words is highly significant, because it sheds light on the core beliefs of the Ancient Israelites during the First Temple period. It shows Israel to be a nation which relies on God as their source of physical blessing (יברכך) and security (וישמרך). It also shows that Israel sees God as their source of spiritual light (יאר) and charming character traits (ויחנך). Lastly, it views God as the ultimate remedy against depression by raising spirits during difficult times (ישא) and by providing (וישם) everyone (לך) with the feeling of inner peace (שלום). Beth Torah Bulletin, June 3, 2017.