Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Bamidbar - 5774

My friends,

This Shabbat we begin reading the fourth book of the Torah called Bamidbar (In the wilderness). In the Book of Bamidbar, we see how the Children of Israel coalesce into one people, ready to enter the Promised Land. However, there are many challenges and failures before that day arrives. It will take 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Forty years of isolation from the Egyptian civilization they left behind, and forty years away from the Canaanite civilization they will face at the end of the journey. In the wilderness they will create their own civilization, one that is governed by the Torah, a society that is compassionate and caring.

This book is called the Book of Numbers, because a census is taken of each tribe and of each family . There are instructions as to how they will be travelling, and where each tribe will encamp. It would seem that, at this point in our history, one year after leaving Egypt, they want to create and maintain a sense of order. We see in our own days the difficulties that countries who supposedly have gained their freedom, face in enjoying their newly gained independence. Civil wars, lawlessness, etc.

Bamidbar means 'in the wilderness', but this is the place where a just and orderly society will be created.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram