parshat beha’alotecha

estimated 2 min read

This week we read Parshat Beha’alotecha, bamidbar/numbers 8-12.

There is a lot of stuff to learn and process in this reading. From learning about the menorah, the role of Levites, when to make the second pesach offering for those unable to make the first, the cloud [of hashem] that covered and moved with the camp, two silver trumpets and their role, manna vs meat, miriam’s curse, among other things… woah. [a much better summary can be found here.]

I’m not sure where to begin and feel quite overwhelmed by this section. Leibowitz gives me MUCH to think about — from some specifics in how this parsha is written (with inverted nun’s which “seperate” the book) to the meaning of free(dom) / eating for “nothing” to wanting meat. Oy.. I’m going to stop reading her writings on beha’alotecha as i’m getting too much to parse through.

Where else can I turn to understand what this parsha means?

I like music, so I’m going to try to focus on these two silver trumpets …

I have an English-only translation of Tz’enah Ur’enah (an anthology of torah lore and midrashic commentary).

on p 723-4 of my edition some simple questions are asked some of which were bouncing around in my mind.
Why silver and not gold? So as not to revive the memory of the Golden Calf.
R’ Isser’l (I’ll find out more about him some day) asked why they were blown for the first two banners but not the last two. This is because the first two in front of the king would be proceeded by some nobles and they would need to be told when to commence. The King then went (in this case it was Moshe & the tabernacle) and the nobles behind did not need to be told to start as they could see the procession starting before them.

Ok. That I understand. I think.

Here two commentaries which make mention of the silver trumpets:
Hamaayan by Shlomo Katz
AMIT

Do you have something to share? Please let me know.

Also perhaps of interest is this article by Dr Erica Brown Growth through Contradiction.

שׁבּת שׁלום


Sources:
Leibowitz, Nehama and Aryeh Newman (translator). Studies in Bamidbar (Numbers). The World Zionist Organization, Department for Torah Education and Culture in the Diaspora: Jerusalem 5740/1980.
The Sapirstein Edition of The Torah, student size.
Stark Zakon, Miriam (translator). The Weekly Midrash: Volume II — Tz’enah Ur’enah the Classic Anthology of Torah Lore and Midrashic Commentary. Mesorah Publications, ltd: Brooklyn: 1994.