Shabbat Shalom

Today is the 1st of Sivan, making it Rosh Chodesh (Head of the Month).

The parsha for this week is Bamidbar, בְּמִדְבַּר  (translated from Hebrew as ” in the desert” that covers Numbers 1:1-4:20. The first reading in Numbers, Bamidbar indeed does deal with counting, tallying, and inventory.

In Bamidbar, Moses takes the first census of the Israelites noting the populations of the 12 tribes. For those that are curious or have forgotten, the twelve tribes (in order of population) consisted of : Judah, Dan, Simeon, Zebulun, Issachar,Naphtali, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.

Moses was instructed, by G-d, not to count the Levites, but to instead assign them to carrying, maintaining, and guarding the Tabernacle and its contents.  Once counted, the tribes were  then assigned a direction (North, East, South, or West) of the Tabernacle to encamp. Moses continues the census, recording the men by ancestoral house or clan; counting the first born Israelite males over one month of age; and finally listing the Kohathite males in the 30-50 age bracket.

There are no commandments in Bamidbar, either negative or positive.

Translation, via JTS:

Commentary available at:





Rabbi Ted Falcon:


“Funding for Whidbey Island Jewish Community was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Special Initiatives Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.” 


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