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 REEH:

View Complete List

Improving Our Eyesight
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Don't Give It Personally
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Now What?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Giving Personally
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

What Yichus!
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Individual and the Nation
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

There Must Be an Anochi in Here Somewhere!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Beis Ha-Mikdash--Taking Things Personally
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

ArtScroll

A Tale Of Two Mountains - Part I
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

The Jewish Calendar
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

The Meat of the Matter
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

> Who Do You Trust?
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Life Choices
Shlomo Katz - 5765

A Blessed Universe
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Ashrei!
Shlomo Katz - 5773



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 REEH:

View Complete List

The Value of Pricelessness
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Love Test
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5766

Ripping At the "Seens"
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Restoring Dignity
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Not a Mitzvah More, Not a Mitzvah Less
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5767

A Spoon and a Handle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

ArtScroll

No Middle Road
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Open Your Heart, and Your Hand
Shlomo Katz - 5759

To Hear Or To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

> We Remain G-d's Children
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

The Jewish Calendar
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

The Simple Truth
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Blessed Adventure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Walk Behind Me
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Championship Team
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5763

We Are One Person
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5763



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