Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Numbers (Bamidbar)

Bamidbar begins with a detailed census of the Jews in the desert. For the record, there were some 600,000 Jewish males between the ages of 20 and 60.

While there are plenty of commandments (51, to be exact) to be found in the pages of Bamidbar, the "highlights" of much the rest of the book might be summed up with one word -- rebellion.

  • Some of the people demanded meat (Bamidbar, chapter 11).
  • Contrary to G-d's wishes, they despaired of entering Israel after the false report of the spies (chapters 13, 14).
  • Korach and his followers rebelled against the leadership of Moses (chapter 16).
  • There were those who complained about the lack of water (chapter 20).
  • There was a group that fell prey to the enticements of the daughters of the nation of Moav (chapter 25).

Not an impressive record. On the other hand, there was very little else going on over those forty years. If we realize that these were nearly all the public complaints of a nation of more than 600,000, we gain a new perspective. Think also about the subject of some of the complaints: lack of water or meat, fear of being killed by a powerful Caananite nation.... Living in the desert without a reliable source for food, water and protection would make the best of us think twice about our situation, wouldn't it?

If anything, the amazing thing might be the deep, silent trust the vast majority of Jews had for G-d the vast majority of the time. There is another point to consider: it's very rare to find an historical work (much less a religion) that so ruthlessly scrutinizes its founders and early leaders. After all, we are descended from these very Jews and we are the students of Moses and Aaron. If anyone would have had anything to cover up, to save historical face, it would have been us. Yet each year (when we read from the Torah in Synagogue) we minutely dissect and discuss each of their failings and sins. Doesn't this point lend our Torah credibility?

The book of Bamidbar ends in the year 2488 (1272 BCE).


Rabbi Boruch Clinton teaches at the Ottawa Torah Institute yeshiva high school and Machon Sarah high school for girls (both in Ottawa, Canada). You may reach him with comments and questions at bclinton@torah.org.

You can now read some of Rabbi Clinton's essays on Torah life at http://www.ncf.ca/~es625/essays

You can also buy his collection of essays on the Book of Shmuel (Samuel) in printed form at www.lulu.com/marbitzmedia

Copyright 2000 by Rabbi Boruch Clinton and Project Genesis, Inc.

 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Be a Holy Nation!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Encouraging His Children to Climb
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Honorable Mentshen
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Burden of Reproof
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Orlah - No Shortcuts?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

A Deafening Silence
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

> The Value of Reverence
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5764

After Death - Life!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

The Heart of the Matter
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

ArtScroll

In the "Judging Business"
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

State of the Union
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

What's an Omer?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Children of the King
Shlomo Katz - 5762

Aaron's Unlimited Access
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Understand The Warning
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Holiness - Served Fresh
Shlomo Katz - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information
 
Sell Chometz Online







ARTICLES ON KEDOSHIM AND THE OMER:

View Complete List

Honorable Mentshen
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Following Torah Standards
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Kiddush Moments
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

> The Students of Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Jumping To Conclusions
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

Leap of Love
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

All the Rest is Commentary!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Lag B'Omer & The Big Picture
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

From the Profanity of Profanities
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Love Your Neighbor: Who Needs Friends?
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Splitting The Marriage Atom
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Holy Kitchen, Holy Sidewalk, Holy Workplace
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

ArtScroll

Justice Must Be Carried Out
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Motherhood & Shabbos Pie
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Beyond Common (In)Cense
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information