Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Parshas Bamidbar begins with the apparent appointing of 12 nesiim (princes) who would help Moshe with the counting (and presumably have some other administrative or authoritative role). Parshas Naso discusses their contribution to the Mishkan.

However, there's a bit of an issue here: the events of Parshas Bamidbar occurred in the second month (Iyar) of the second year, and the setting up of the Mishkan and subsequent princely gifts began on the first month - before their appointment!

The pesukim at the beginning of Bamidbar seem to imply that Moshe was told to appoint them specifically for/at the time of the count, but Parshas Naso implies otherwise. Were they actually appointed (or otherwise known) before the Parshas Bamidbar counting? (I'm inclined to say yes, but I'd like to see the issue discussed somewhere)

share|improve this question
I don't see why you think they were appointed only at the time of the count. – Double AA May 26 '14 at 21:58
@DoubleAA They are introduced as "וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים... אשר יעמדו אתכם", as if they were regular people who are presently being named to stand with them, as though Moshe would otherwise not know who they were. If they were already recognized as nesiim, they should have been introduced as such (Hashem would have said, take the nesiim, who are named etc.) But maybe you're right; no one discusses this because the obvious solution is that they were indeed known beforehand – Matt May 26 '14 at 22:06

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.