Weekly Torah Portion

May 27, 2017 – 2 Sivan 5777
Parashat Bemidbar
Annual (Numbers 1:1-4:20): Etz Hayim p. 769-785
Haftarah (Hosea 2:1-22): Etz Hayim p. 786-790

God orders Moses to take a census of the people so the Israelites can prepare for the possibility of warfare or other obstacles. The total of 603,550 males over the age of 20 does not include the Levites, who must be responsible for the activities and maintenance of the Tabernacle at all times.

The tribes are told to camp in a square, with three tribes on each side of the square, and with the Levites and the Ark in the middle.

The Levites must report to and assist Aaron and his sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, who serve as priests in the wake of Nadav and Avihu’s deaths. The Levitical clans of Gershon, Kohath and Merari are assigned specific duties; the Kohathites are required to watch over the most sacred objects of the Israelite cult.

God outlines a procedure for Moses to redeem the Israelite first-born.