Questions and Concepts for Bamidbar
(Numbers 1:1 - 4:20)
  1. Parsha Bamidbar is read on the Shabbat before Shavuot, the Feast that celebrates the giving of the Torah. Shavuot is called the "wedding of Israel to God" and thus the days leading up to it are preparation for the great event. From the time they left Egypt to today's Parsha there were three census taken of the Israelites. The first was on their departure from Egypt, the second prior to building the Tabernacle and the third following this event.
  2. How did these three events correspond to the stages of God's revelation to them? How did their level of involvmenet go from being completely passive (God's grace only) to one of both grace and merit? How did the involvement of Aaron in the last census (only) reflect this change from revelation solely from "above to below" to one of connecting from "below to above?" How did this "spiritual evolution" relate to the people being prepared to receive the Torah that God gave on Shavuot?
  3. In the middle of the Israelite encampment were the Levites and the sanctuary. Surrounding this center were the 12 Tribes. The image of the Israelite camp is like a wheel with many spokes all leading to one hub. The tribes had a specific order and method of movement.
  4. How did everyone "knowing their place" foster harmony among the people? What is the correlation between such harmony and spiritual preparedness to receive the Torah?
  5. How did this arrangement teach "Godly" humiltity? What is the relationship between such humility and advancing spiritually "toward God?" What does such spiritual advancement teach us about our own limitations?
  6. Consider this concept:
    Bamidbar means, "In the desert," and is read before the holiday of Shavuot when the Torah was given on Mount Sinai. The celebration of Biblical Feast days does not merely commemorate events of the past, but also provide an opportunity to relive them. To relive the Sinai experience (and the idea of spiritual growth), we must often first have to pass through our own "spiritual desert" and its lessons. How does this relate to passages such as Romans 5:3-5 and Hebrews 12:3-11?