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B'haalos'cha 8:9–10:

וְהִקְרַבְתָּ אֶת הַלְוִיִּם לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד וְהִקְהַלְתָּ אֶת כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.‏
וְהִקְרַבְתָּ אֶת הַלְוִיִּם לִפְנֵי ה׳ וְסָמְכוּ בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת יְדֵיהֶם עַל הַלְוִיִּם.‏

In the translation used on chabad.org:

You shall bring the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting, and you shall gather the entire congregation of the children of Israel.
You shall bring the Levites before the Lord, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands upon the Levites.

Are these two "You shall bring…" commands a duplicate mention of the same act of bringing?

  • If so, then:

    • Why mention it twice?
    • Why use different words ("the Lord" vs. "the Tent of Meeting") to describe the same action?
  • If not, then:

    • Is there a physical difference between the two bringings, or is this saying the same action is to be repeated?

      • If there's a physical difference, then:

        • What is it?
        • Why were the two bringings necessary? (For example, if the difference between the two bringings is that bringing "before the Lord" is closer somehow, a further act of bringing, than bringing "in front of the Tent of Meeting", then why not bring them "before the Lord" in one fell swoop rather than in two stages?)
      • If there's no difference, then:

        • How can the same action be done twice? Weren't the Levites already assembled after the first bringing?
        • Why do it twice?
        • Why use different words ("the Lord" vs. "the Tent of Meeting") to describe the two identical actions?
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An acquaintance suggested that the (ad loc.) K'le Yakar's explanation of two ways the l'viyim were special may be relevant here. He didn't have any idea of how; nor do I. But I figured I'll put the suggestion out here. –  msh210 Jun 16 '13 at 16:19
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1 Answer 1

Two partial answers:

Torah Sh'lema cites the midrash Lekach Tov on the second "You shall bring" as saying that "before the Lord" means the east side of the Tent: seemingly the Levites had been brought near the Tent before that and then were brought east of the Tent specifically. (I'd think the first verse's "in front of the Tent" itself means to the east side, but Lekach Tov does say this explanation about the second verse.)

Malbim explains that the second bringing was into the azara (outer tent around the Tent) whereas the first was not.

Neither explains why the bringing of the Levites would take place in two stages, however.

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