12

I actually saw a dvar torah this week that claimed that the tribe of Gad showed that the others were actually exact by a miracle in Mail Jewish (quoted below). See the quote from Rav Chaim Kanievsky below based on what his father the Steipler Rav told him. Another explanation is that the counts were actually rounded to the nearest fifty or rounded up to the ...


10

Chullin 24a (citing Sifrei Beha'alotekha 62) notes this contradiction in starting age and reconciles it by saying that Levites entered training at 25 and began to serve at 30. This restriction applied only to the mishkan, because then the job of being a Levite included constructing and assembling the structure. But in the temple, the Levites' duties aren't ...


8

603,550 excludes the Levites: Reuven: 46,500. Shim’on: 59,300. Gad: 45,650. Yehuda: 74,600. Yissachar: 54,400. Zevulun: 57,400. Efra’im: 40,500. Menashe: 32,200. Binyamin: 35,400. Dan: 62,700. Asher: 41,500. Naftali: 53,400. Altogether this equals 603,550, as it says in Bamidbar (1:46). And as the very next passuk (1:47) says: וְהַלְוִיִּ֖ם לְמַטֵּ֣ה ...


7

Rashi means to say that the Leviim were not killed over the forty years. It often happens that Rashi will quote the 'wrong' pasuk to simplify his point; what he is really referring to is the count at the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar, where indeed the count is described as a census of soldiers (or יוצא צבא "those who go out with the army"). This is evident ...


5

Rashi does not say that one should not join the army younger than 20, as the questioner put it. That is an interpretation read into the words of Rashi. Rashi says: כל יצא צבא: מגיד שאין יוצא בצבא פחות מבן עשרים: all who are fit to go out to the army: This informs [us] that no one went out to the army below the age of twenty. This can be understood as ...


5

good question The Zohar (Ki Sisa 191b) and Yalkut (Parshas Beha'alosecho 729 according to the Zais Ra'non) write that only Klal Yisroel had the privilege of the protection of the ענני הכבוד, the Erev Rav however didn't share this luxury and they camped in the desert outside the ענני הכבוד. Klal Yisroel fed the Erev Rav with the left overs of the Mon and ...


4

Elishama ben Amihud was Yehoshua's grandfather (Divrei Hayamim 1:7:26-27), and Yehoshua was 58 years old at the time(*). So at least one nasi was over 60. (*) Yehoshua lived 110 years (Yehoshua 24:29). This was 14 years after going into Eretz Yisrael, and the count was 38 years before that. So he was around 110 - 14 - 38 = 58, +/- a year because I'm not ...


4

By the Meraglim, the decree was that "in this desert, your carcasses will fall, for all of your countings and all of your numbers, from the age of 20 and older..." (Bamidbar 14:29). The Gemara (Bava Basra 121b) derives by a gezeirah shavah - the common usage of "and older" here and by Erchin (Vayikra 27:7) - that the decree was for 20 to 60. As this was ...


4

The Netziv in Ha'amek Davar addresses this issue: ועליו מטה מנשה – משונה הלשון כאן. ויש נפקא מינה במשמעות, ד״החונים עליו״ משמע כקטן הנסמך על הגדול, וחנייתו ומילוי צרכיו תלויים בדעת מי שגדול ממנו. משא״כ משמעות ״ועליו״ להיפך, דעת הגדול על הקטן והוא מנהיגו. והיינו, דאע״ג דאפרים היה ראש הדגל, היינו משום שהנהגת המדבר היתה נסיית ובזה גדול כח אפרים, אבל ...


4

The Ibn Ezra (8:24) reconciles these contradictory verses by proposing that the age of twenty five was appropriate only for the work of the tent (עבודת אוהל) whereas thirty was appropriate for carrying the equipment (עבודת משא). The Ibn Ezra doesn't elaborate on the subject and leaves us wondering as to what constitutes עבודת אוהל? The interpretation of ...


4

There are a number of possibilities as shown by Rabbi Buchwald. Rav Hirsch, besides citing the Ramban refers to his own commentary on Vayishlach 36:1 which explains the concept of multiple names for individuals. Note that THE BIBLE "CODES": A TEXTUAL PERSPECTIVE The two versions are laid out side by side, with differences highlighted, in Abba Bendavid,...


4

This source (found thanks to a link in the comments;) discusses my question (and others), and answers (quoting Terumas Hadeshen explaining Rashi) that because Shimon was not the leader of his דגל flag-group, he got the word "פקודיו" added to his count as compensation. [He adds that Menashe also has a change in his count -- "והחונים עליו," for a similar ...


4

The easy answer is provided by Bamidbar 1:47-9, the Levites were excluded from the Tribal Count. וְהַלְוִיִּ֖ם לְמַטֵּ֣ה אֲבֹתָ֑ם לֹ֥א הָתְפָּקְד֖וּ בְּתוֹכָֽם׃ The Levites, however, were not recorded among them by their ancestral tribe. וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר׃ For the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying: אַ֣ךְ אֶת־מַטֵּ֤ה לֵוִי֙ לֹ֣א ...


3

Sifrei to Bamidbar (paragraph 133) addresses this point: ראויה היתה פרשת נחלות שתאמר על ידי משה, אלא שזכו בנות צלפחד שנאמרה על ידן. לכך מגלגלים זכות על ידי זכאי וחובה על ידי חייב:‏ The section on inheritance was fit to be stated by Moses, but the daughters of Tzelofchad merited that it be stated through them. "Merit is effected through the ...


3

Rabbi Henkin, in his book New Interpretations on the Parsha, suggests three possible reasons: Malnourishment as slaves may have lead to a high number of miscarriages. Because Egypt places high prestige on first-borns, perhaps the Jewish first-borns did not want to leave Egypt, and stayed behind/died when the Jews left. If, according to the medrash, the ...


3

See Shiras Dovid (to Bamidbar 26) by R. Aharon Dovid Goldberg. He also explains that the unusual Gad's counting in 1:25 came exactly to 50 because it was not possible to round it to a (1)00 since it falls just in between.


2

Rashi to Bamidbar 24:5 quotes this Gemara as follows. The Hebrew is the original, via Sefaria, and the English is the most literal translation I can muster that makes any sort of sense. מה טבו אהליך. על שראה פתחיהם שאינן מכוונין זה מול זה (ב"ב ס, א): “How goodly are your tents” - on that [Bilam] saw that their openings weren’t directly facing this ...


1

If I could, I'd rather phrase the question differently. To me, most of the beginning of Sefer Bamidbar is not intertwined: it is a detailed discussion of how Israel was arranged around the Mishkan. The numbers of each tribe and how they were arranged in degalim, then the same for Levi along with the jobs of each of the parts of Levi (into P' Naso), then the ...


1

There is a dispute in the g'mara about what shape (viewed aerially) the people were in as they walked. One opinion says they were shaped like a "box" - i.e. rectangle*, and the prooftext is כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר יַחֲנוּ֙ כֵּ֣ן יִסָּ֔עוּ They walked in the same shape in which they camped. According to this opinion they camped in a rectangle! כיצד היו ישראל ...


1

The repeating of the counts in Bamidbar chapter 2 is to reiterate the counts in the context of their arrangement as a camp around the mishkan. It gives the whole event much festivity and pomp and circumstance. The master plan of the universe is finally being realized: God's nation has been redeemed, given the Torah and built the mishkan at it's center. Now ...


1

There can be many meanings to this Midrash. Here are a couple of suggestions that could use some nice development and make a very beautiful Devar Torah (in fact, I may do so myself!). (Please note that some of these were written before I found the sources, others only after.): A degel, or flag, unites Klal Yisrael around it (see Rashi above). Only once ...


1

The Abarbanal on Numbers 2 explains this. He explains that ideally since there are 12 tribes that come from 4 mothers that there would be two groups of 3 tribes from לאה, one group from רחל and another from the שפחות. However, since Levi was not with the other tribes (since he was in the middle), the groups were put in this way: Yehuda, Yisaschar, and ...


1

I'm basing all of my answer on this link here: http://www.vbm-torah.org/parsha.60/34bamid.htm Chazal tell us in various agadot, that every letter of the Torah is important. They tell us in other agadot, that the Torah is written in the language of man, and thus we can presume, that not every letter of the Torah is imbued with special meaning. However, ...


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