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Summary of Parshat Bamidbar

by the editors    
of Torah from Dixie    

Parshat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20), the first portion of the fourth book of the Torah, is primarily involved with the census taken of the Jewish people in the second month of their second year in the desert. After listing the leaders of the twelve tribes of Israel, the Torah presents the totals of men between the ages of twenty and sixty for each tribe, the overall count being 603,550. The encampment structure is then described, with the tribe of Levi in the middle, safeguarding the Tabernacle and surrounded by the twelve tribes of Israel, each in their own designated area. The appointment of the tribe of Levi as the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people is presented, and their own census is taken, apart from the rest of Israel. The Torah portion concludes with the instructions given to the family of Kehat, the second son of Levi, for their role in dealing with the most sacred parts of the Mishkan.

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