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.

 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Taking Matters Into One's Own Hands
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5767

Insight Into An Age Old Dilemma
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

I Am a Soul
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

ArtScroll

The Heart of the Matter
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

The New Year for Trees
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

Think Again!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

> Understanding Injustice
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Heaven-Sent
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Lessons in Appreciation
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Mazal Tov!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5761

Those Who Help with Mitzvos
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Mon or Man?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Gateway to Freedom
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

An Investment In Our Future
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

G-d Rules Even In A Period In Which We Fail To See It
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Words of Remembrance
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 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
 

ARTICLES ON BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Freight and Handling
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Divine Multitasking
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5766

A Seamless Integration On A Higher Plane
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

> Leap of Faith
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

The Reason the Jews were not led through the Land of the Plishtim
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Insight Into An Age Old Dilemma
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Gateway to Freedom
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

I Am a Soul
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

My “My”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Look Not at the Vessel...
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

The Perfect Script Writer
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Questions to Ponder
Rabbi Jeff Kirshblum - 5764

ArtScroll

Mon or Man?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

What is Tu B'Shvat?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5761

Test of Affluence
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5757

Building a Spiritual Pipeline
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759



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