Join Sivan's newsletter!

Get updates & news via Email

5 items regarding the book of Numbers and Shavuot

במדבר תשפד

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1.⁠ ⁠This Shabbat we begin reading Bamidbar, the book of Numbers.

2.The opening parasha of this book is also called Bamidbar. It is a lengthy parasha with 159 verses that is mainly concerned with the nation’s census in the desert. Each tribe receives its own flag and a designated place in the traveling procession, as well as a permanent spot in their encampments. This will not just be a 40-year adventure in the desert since each tribe, at the outset, is already given a unique mission and responsibility.

3.After the parasha’s description of the desert census, we read a haftarah that tells of future days in which the nation will be so large that it will be impossible to count all of its people. “And the number of the children of Israel shall be as the grains of sand in the sea, which can neither be measured nor counted.”

4.There are commentators who point out that the book of Numbers is significant because it solely describes what happens in the midst of a journey. It is not about our point of departure or the time or place of our arrival and, in this way, parallels the journey of our own lives. Bamidbar concerns “belectecha baderech” (when you walk along the road); thus, this book fortifies us as we walk along the road of life.

5.The holiday of Shavuot arrives next Tuesday evening. It is observed for one day in Israel and for two days in the Diaspora. After 49 days of Counting the Omer — which began the second day of Pesach — we receive the Torah anew. It is customary to bring children no matter how young to the synagogue or local Chabad house in order to hear a reading of the Ten Commandments so that the next generation will already feel a connection to our magnificent story.

You can listen to Sivan’s latest podcast episode on Parshat Bamidbar here:


We use cookies to ensure the best experience for you. Please, accept the usage of cookies.