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Bamidbar Question 1

Weekly Parsha Questions

Bamidbar Question 1

Yechiel Shaffer

The first chapters of Bamidbar are filled with numbers. In fact, the translated name of Bamidbar, does not reflect it’s accurate translation from the Hebrew word ‘BaMidbar’ but rather is known as the book of ‘Numbers’. In 1:48 Moshe receives specific instructions regarding the numbers of the tribe of Levi:

פרשת במדבר פרק א

מח) וַיְדַבֵּר יְקֹוָק אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר

48The Lord spoke to Moses saying

 מט) אַךְ אֶת־מַטֵּה לֵוִי לֹא תִפְקֹד וְאֶת־רֹאשָׁם לֹא תִשָּׂא בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

49Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, and you shall not reckon their sum among the children of Israel.

Why were the Levi’im exempted from the counting of the Jewish people? 

According to the Rambam (last chapter of Hilchos Shmitta UYovel) what was the sanctified role of the Levi’im, perhaps a role that cannot be limited by their number?