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Bamidbar

Bamidbar

5 Facts About Parshat Bamidbar that You (Maybe) Didn’t Know

Published on Friday June 7th, 2019

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parshah that you can share at your Shabbos table.

לִבְנֵ֣י יִשָּׂשכָ֔ר תּוֹלְדֹתָ֥ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם בְּמִסְפַּ֣ר שֵׁמֹ֗ת מִבֶּ֨ן עֶשְׂרִ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה כֹּ֖ל יֹצֵ֥א צָבָֽא׃ (1:28)

Of the descendants of Issachar, the registration of the clans of their ancestral house, as listed by name, aged twenty years and over, all who were able to bear arms.

1.     What special knowledge did the tribe of Yisachar possess?

  • Bnei Issachar were experts in astronomical sciences. (Hagesher/Rav Brand/Divrei HaYamim I 12:33, Nedarim 20b)

 

בְּנֵ֣י נַפְתָּלִ֔י תּוֹלְדֹתָ֥ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֑ם בְּמִסְפַּ֣ר שֵׁמֹ֗ת מִבֶּ֨ן עֶשְׂרִ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה כֹּ֖ל יֹצֵ֥א צָבָֽא׃ (1:42)

[Of] the descendants of Naphtali, the registration of the clans of their ancestral house as listed by name, aged twenty years and over, all who were able to bear arms.

2.     What uniqueness did the tribe of Nafatali have?

  • Another explanation is that the letter lamed alludes to the fact that tribe of Naftali was the only tribe that had more females than males. This is  also alluded to in Yaakov's blessing, that Nafatali would be an “ayalah schlucha hanoten/free running deer who delivers,” in which the first letter of each word spells  “ishah/woman”, informing us  that women form most of this tribe. (Baal Haturim see Massorah, Siftei Cohen)

 

אַ֣ךְ אֶת־מַטֵּ֤ה לֵוִי֙ לֹ֣א תִפְקֹ֔ד וְאֶת־רֹאשָׁ֖ם לֹ֣א תִשָּׂ֑א בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ (1:49)

Do not on any account enroll the tribe of Levi or take a census of them with the Israelites.

3.     From what age was the tribe of Levi counted?

  • While all other tribes were counted from the age of twenty, the tribe of Levi was counted from the age of one month old. (Rashi, Mizrachi, Siftei Chachamim)

 

אִ֣ישׁ עַל־דִּגְל֤וֹ בְאֹתֹת֙ לְבֵ֣ית אֲבֹתָ֔ם יַחֲנ֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל מִנֶּ֕גֶד סָבִ֥יב לְאֹֽהֶל־מוֹעֵ֖ד יַחֲנֽוּ׃ (2:2)

The Israelites shall camp each with his standard, under the banners of their ancestral house; they shall camp around the Tent of Meeting at a distance.

4.     Why did the Bnei Yisrael asked for flags?

  • The Bnei Yisrael asked Hashem for flags at Mt. Sinai after seeing 22,000 angels arranged by flags. (Bamidbar Rabba, 2)

 

וַיִּפְקֹ֥ד אֹתָ֛ם מֹשֶׁ֖ה עַל־פִּ֣י יְהוָ֑ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר צֻוָּֽה׃ (3:16)

So Moses recorded them at the command of the LORD, as he was bidden.

5.     How was Moshe able to accurately count the Bnei Yisrael?

  • “At the command of Hashem” alludes to the fact that Moshe wondered how he would count the babies considering that he could not simply barge into every home. Hashem told him to do his part and He would do His. So Moshe went to the entrance of every tent  and a Divine Voice  proclaimed the exact numbers of babies inside. (Rashi)
Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box

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