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[Dvar Torah] Bamidbar

In this week's Torah portion, Parshat Bamidbar, we begin the fourth book of the Torah, known as the Book of Numbers. This book tells the story of the Israelites as they journey through the wilderness. The name of the Parsha, "Bamidbar," literally means "in the wilderness," and introduces the setting of the Parsha. The book is named Numbers because G-d ordered a census of all the Israelites, demonstrating His care and love for all the people.

The Parsha starts with the Israelites, who had been freed from slavery in Egypt, wandering in the wilderness. Some of them become so scared that they start to feel great stress and end up missing their lives as slaves in Egypt. To determine the number of fighting men, G-d orders a census of the Israelites. Moses counts a total of 603,550 adult males from the 12 tribes, aged 20 years or older. The tribe of Levi has 22,300 males, including infants. The Levites have the responsibility of serving in the Sanctuary and carrying the Tabernacle, replacing the firstborns who were disqualified when they participated in the worship of the golden calf. Each tribe is assigned a specific location around the Tabernacle and a leader. The Parsha contains instructions for the Israelites to prepare for their journey to enter the Promised Land.

As we read about the Israelites' journey, we are reminded of the challenges they faced, the lessons they learned, and the faith they held onto. This week, we also celebrate Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem following the Six-Day War in 1967. The reunification of the holy city holds significant importance in Jewish history and modern Jewish identity. The old city of Jerusalem is often viewed as a symbol of Jewish unity and strength, reminding us of our connection to the ancient land of Israel and its religious significance.

Many Rabbis draw parallels between the journey of the Israelites in the desert and the journey of modern-day Jews returning to Jerusalem. Jerusalem Day is an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of Jerusalem and the challenges that come with returning to it. Just as the Jews fought with courage to return to the old city during the Six-Day War, we too can overcome obstacles that seem impossible with faith and determination. 

Reading about the Israelites' journey through the wilderness in Bamidbar, we can see even more parallels to our own personal journeys in life. We too may face challenges and obstacles, but just like the Israelites, we must have faith and trust that we will emerge successfully on the other side. Similarly, Jerusalem Day serves as a reminder that even during challenging times, our connection to our homeland can serve as a source of hope and strength.

Another idea from the Parsha is the importance of organization and structure. Just as the Israelites were arranged in camps around the Tabernacle, we too need structure and organization in our lives to accomplish our goals. As exams are approaching and we are under great pressure with studying, we must remember that if we have faith, study hard, and keep organised, we can strive to do our best with the tools we are given.

Shabbat Shalom.

Elya, Grade 10