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 BAMIDBAR AND SHAVUOS:

View Complete List

Walking The Walk
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Background Checkout
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Take Your Portion in Torah
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

> Civility In Times of Duress
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

The Special Essence of the Jew
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Strength in Numbers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

3327 Years Later!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Take a Deep Breath
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Fruitful Living
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

ArtScroll

Every Jew Can Perfect the World
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

As You Rest - So Shall You Travel
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

The Ramban DOES NOT Contradict The Talmud
- 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Lesson from a Date
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Human Nature
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

My Torah
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5765

"I Love Hashem More Than You"
Shlomo Katz - 5760



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 BAMIDBAR AND SHAVUOS:

View Complete List

The Ramban DOES NOT Contradict The Talmud
- 5773

Children Guarantee
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Transition Points in Jewish History
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Dose of Our Own Medicine
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Just for You!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Taming The Beast
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5762

ArtScroll

Thunder and Lightning
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Background Checkout
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

A Whole Part of the Whole
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

H-E-C-T-I-C
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5765

Separate But Together
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Separate but Equal
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

> The Customs of Shavuos
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

The Scale of Piety
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Ah, It's Nothing... Really.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

A Mystical Idea May Help Us Understand the Incomprehensible
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772



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