Torah: Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20) Haftarah:(Hosea 2:1-22)
Shabbat May 19th we celebrate Yom Yerushalayim, the reunification of East Jerusalem in 1967 after the Six Days War.
The Torah portion is from Bamidbar when G-d commands Moses to take a census of the entire Israelite community. The instructions of the Israel camp and order of march is given, and the Levites and their duties (one is the Pidyon haben: redemption of the first born at 6 weeks).
On the first day of the second month they assembled the entire congregation, and they registered each person according to the clan of his ancestors… Bamidbar (Numbers:1:18)
The Book of Numbers includes a total census of the Israelites, mainly to know how many fighting men over the age of 20 were available in case of the necessity of a war of defense during their wanderings. Each person was counted as part of a family tree. Why was it important to trace the lineage of those counted back to their early ancestors?
The Sfat Emet, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Alter (1847-1905) was known as Gerer Rebbe (a learned Jewish rabbi of Poland). He stated, “ No one can match the deeds of the founding Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Israel.” The purpose of this verse is not to match the deeds of anyone who went before us, but rather to remain true to our ancestry, and bind our destiny to their lives and their values.
Next week we will be celebrating Shavuot, when we received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai nearly 3,000 years ago. At that moment in time it was as if all the Jewish people and their generations were born, and Judaism would be perpetuated. Next Shabbat on Saturday, May 27 at 11am I will be reciting Yizkor and discussing the Megillah Ruth, while everyone will have a light lunch at our home. Keeping with tradition the meal will have no meat, just dairy, fruit and vegetables.
Kindly, inform Ellen Nathan so I will know how many will be attending.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder