Dvar Torah Parshat Bamidbar 2008 5768 דבר תורה פרשת במדבר תשסח

A good portion of this week’s Sidra is devoted to taking the census of Bnei Israel in the Wilderness. All the men who were twenty years and older were counted in every tribe. They were designated as KOL YOTZE TZAVA, “every man capable of joining the army.” (Num. 1,3)

At first the only tribe not counted was the tribe of Levi. Their task was not to go to the army but they were assigned to a different task. The Torah says: VESHAMRU HALEVIIM ET MISHMERET MISHKAN HA’EDUT. (Num. 1,53) They were to guard the Mishkan. Towards the end of the Sidra we read that a census was taken of the tribe of Levi and all men from the age of one month and up were counted. If the duties of the Levites was to guard the Mishkan what could be the function of a month old child?

The answer, of course, is that the task of the Levites was not to physically protect the Mishkan. There was no need for that. Their task was a spiritual one. With their holiness and their dedicated attention to keep the Mishkan holy, they were protecting the integrity of the Mishkan.

The children from their very childhood were brought up in the aura of holiness. They grew up with a sense of purity that lasted with them throughout life. A Jewish child today should also be raised with this same feeling of holiness and belonging to Klal Israel.

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