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 EIKEV:

View Complete List

Big Deal!
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Who is Your Favorite Artist?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

The Work of the Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

> Emulate G-d, Again and Again!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

All But One
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

National Consequence
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Looking for a Chavrusah?

When Serving Dinner
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

All By Myself
Rabbi Yaakov Menken -

Nothing But The Truth
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

ArtScroll

What Do You Mean You Forgot?!
Shlomo Katz - 5765

Superiority Complex
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Fear of Heaven - No Small Matter
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Motherís Love
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Genuine Wealth
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763

Faith-Heeler
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

Unreal
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 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
 

ARTICLES ON EIKEV:

View Complete List

Treat With Care
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Going Beyond the Carrot
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

The Living Land
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

ArtScroll

A Personal Perception
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5757

When Tragedy Strikes...
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5764

Manna From Heaven
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

> The Work of the Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Rabbi Frand on Eikev
- 5768

Building on Our Blessings
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Summary of All Fear
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Improving Our Character
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Emulate G-d, Again and Again!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Like a Fish Needs Water
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Hashem Does Not Need Our Mitzvos
Shlomo Katz - 5760

The Tree of Life
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5761

Humility: On the Shoulders of Our Father
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774



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