Parashat Bamidbar!

Dear Friends;

I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary followed by a Dvar

” Parsha in a Nutshell ”

Parshat Bamidbar, is primarily involved with the census taken of the Jewish
people in the second month of their second year in the desert. After listing the
leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel, the Torah presents the totals of men
between the ages of twenty and sixty for each tribe, the overall count being
603,550. The encampment structure is then described, with the tribe of Levi in
the middle, safeguarding the Tabernacle and surrounded by the twelve tribes of
Israel, each in their own designated area. The appointment of the tribe of Levi
as the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people is presented, and their own census
is taken, apart from the rest of Israel.

The Parsha concludes with the instructions given to the family of Kehat, the
second son of Levi, for their role in dealing with the most sacred parts of the

” Dvar Torah ”

This week’s Parasha, is the start of the fourth book of the Torah called
“Bamidbar” which means ” in the desert”, but it’s mostly referred to and named
as the “Book of Numbers”. A major theme running throughout the Book of Numbers
is, well, “numbers”! The first few chapters in particular are a statistician’s
delight! It lists the number of army-age men in each of the twelve tribes, both
individually and in the aggregate, and it also lists the number of Levites,
broken down into various categories.

In the beginning of this week’s Parsha, Moshe was told to count the Jewish males
who are entitle and should be enrolled for the Army. The Torah says: “Take a
census of the entire assembly of the Children of Israel according to their
families, according to their fathers’ household, by number of the names, every
male according to their head count. From twenty years of age and up — everyone
who goes out to the legion in Israel — you shall count them according to their
legions, you and Aaron.” This count included every tribe, except that of Levi.
They were reserved for a separate count. And their count was not of men ages
twenty and up. It began with a much younger crew. They were counted from one
month of age and up!

The obvious questions that comes to my mind, which probably comes to your minds
too, are as follows. Why were the tiny babies included in the count? Why were
the infants of the tribe of Levi counted and not the infants of the other
tribes? If Hashem believes in equality, that every Jewish soul should be counted
as ONE, then why to show favoritism towards the tribe of Levi and give them a
twenty years head start over the rest of the tribes? After all, what qualities
do the Levites’ children have, that are missing in the other eleven tribes,
which makes them worthy of a count, just like the strong soldiers in the army?

The Chachamim give the following explanation. The tribe of Levi were in charge
of safeguarding the sanctity of the Mishkan, the mobile sanctuary for Hashem.
They were not suppose to take parts in any legions of an army, but rather, they
were suppose to dedicate their lives in serving Hashem. To acknowledge Hashem,
to take part in serving Hashem and to work in the sanctuary, does not require a
minimum age. You can learn to serve Hashem at a very young age, even when you
are a baby! The tribe of Levi acted as teachers, mentors and Rabbis to the
entire congregation, and even their children were role models among the rest of
the children. The Torah is telling us that in order to be a soldier, you need to
be mature and physically fit, but to be able to serve Hashem, you require to be
holy and pure — two characteristics that can be found more commonly in
children. It’s true that most of the mitzvot in the Torah are for men above the
Bar Mitzvah age, but to learn Torah and to learn how to serve Hashem, you can
start at a very young age! The Levite’s fathers not only spent their time
teaching the Torah to the entire nation, but they spent a lot of time teaching
their own children, since they knew that they are going to be the future
teachers and Rabbis. And the Levites’ children loved to learn Torah and eagerly
followed their father’s foot steps in every step of the way in working in
sanctuary and to teach the other children. Both the children and their fathers
knew the importance of their task, and that’s why they were counted equally.
Imagine, if Hashem is respecting the Levites’ children so much that He includes
them in the count just for learning Torah from their fathers, then how much more
respect and encouragement we should give to our children when they learn Torah
and perform its Mitzvot!

Yes my friends, our children are our future! They are the ones who will continue
to safeguard our Torah, our heritage, our customs and our sanctity. And we are
the ones in charge of teaching it to them. Sometimes it’s difficult for us, or
we don’t have the time to teach the Torah to our children. That’s when we need
the help of the Rabbis, the Talmud Torahs and the Yeshivas to teach it to them.
Because, G-d forbid, if we don’t teach them the Torah, then who will safeguard
our heritage and who will pass on our three thousand years old religion to the
next generations?

Keep in mind that children can learn from a very young age. They observe and
they learn. I never forget the time when my older son, Ariel, was 3 or 4 years
old. One Sunday morning when I overslept, he came up to my bed, shook me and
said: “Dad–Dad! Wake up–wake up! You have to put that black thing on your
head!” I didn’t even know that he noticed me putting on the tefillin before?!
Now, B”H, the time has almost come for him to put that black thing on his head!!

So, we can see how important are the roles of the children when it comes to
Torah and mitzvot. In the Torah, they are given the same count as the heros on
the battlefield! Because they are the heros of our future! May G-d bless them

Shabbat Shalom & Regards;