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In the Wilderness

On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt, the Eternal One spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, saying: "Take a census of the whole Israelite company…" - Numbers 1:1-2

  • God commands Moses to take a census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty. (1:1-46)
  • The duties of the Levites, who are not included in the census, are detailed. (1:47-51)
  • Each tribe is assigned specific places in the camp around the Tabernacle. (1:52-2:34)
  • The sons of Levi are counted and their responsibilities are set forth. (3:1-3:39)
  • A census of the firstborn males is taken and a special redemption tax is levied on them. (3:40-51)
  • God instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the responsibilities of Aaron and his sons, and the duties assigned to the Kohathites. (4:1-20)

When do we read B'midbar?

2016 Jun 11 /5 Sivan, 5776
2017 May 27 /2 Sivan, 5777
2018 May 19 /5 Sivan, 5778


  • By Steven Kushner

    There are only three places in Torah: Mitzrayim or Egypt, which means "the narrow place" in Hebrew; eretz zavat chalav u' d'vash, "land that flows with milk and honey" at the opposite end of the continuum; and in the middle, midbar, the unknown empty space of wilderness. It is midbar, this in-between place, that is at the center of our attention this week (and, for that matter, the next eight weeks). It is the overriding theme of the entirety of the Book of Numbers in Hebrew, B'midbar, "In Wilderness."

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