Parashat Naso, in Numbers 5:1-3, presents a commandment to "send from the camp" anyone who is tamei due to either tzara'at or a zav-type discharage. After that, we have Verse 4, affirming that the Israelites did as commanded:

וַיַּעֲשׂוּ כֵן בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיְשַׁלְּחוּ אוֹתָם אֶל מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה אֶל משֶׁה כֵּן עָשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

The children of Israel did so: they sent them outside the camp; as the Lord had spoken to Moses, so did the children of Israel do.

It seems to me that this commandment was meant to apply in perpetuity and was not a one-time expulsion. If so, it seems atypical that the Torah would record the fact that it was adhered to the first time. (One other example that comes to mind was a record in Numbers 9:5 that the Israelites performed the first Korban Pesach after the Exodus, but I can see various reasons for that, including that it was leading into the Pesach Sheini story.)

  • Am I right that this sort of "and so they did" is atypical for commandments meant to apply in perpetuity?

  • If so, why did this commandment, in particular, get such a record?

  • 1
    Perhaps because only now (re the rest of the parsha) did the mishkan/mikdash start functioning and everyone had to actually be kicked out.
    – Double AA
    May 19, 2013 at 7:05
  • Exodus 12 28, 35, 50
    – Double AA
    May 19, 2013 at 9:47
  • @DoubleAA The commandments in Exodus 12 were explicitly one-timers and part of the Exodus story.
    – Isaac Moses
    May 19, 2013 at 13:10

1 Answer 1


The second posuk says "צַו אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל" - Command the Children of Israel, and Rashi explains in his commentary on Leviticus 6:2 that whenever the Torah writes צו it means that the command has to be carried out immediately and for all generations.

אין צו אלא לשון זרוז מיד ולדורות. אמר ר' שמעון ביותר צריך הכתוב לזרז במקום שיש בו חסרון כיס:‏

The expression צַו always denotes urging [to promptly and meticulously fulfill a particular commandment] for the present and also for future generations. Rabbi Simeon taught: Scripture especially needs to urge [people to fulfill commandments,] where monetary loss is involved.

Therefore, verse 4 tells us that they carried out the "immediate" part of the command.


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