Friday, May 23, 2014

Text message Bamidvar

Parashat Bamidvar (In the desert)

This parasha opens the book of Numbers. In fact, the word "numbers" refers to the censuses that take place in this book and not to the literal translation of the word Bamidvar.
Hashem commands Moses to count the people of Israel and then the Torah  describes the position of each tribe in the camp.  
The 12 tribes were divided into four: N, S, W and E. Every tribe had a flag.
What is the purpose of the flag? Why should the tribes have a flag in the camp?
The most logical explanation is if anybody wanted to return to his or her own tribe, they would look up, see the flag, get oriented, and then return.

This may teach us two things: 1) the importance of having a sense of belonging. We always need to remember the flag we defend, the nation we belong to; 2) We always need to know that when we are lost, the only way to return is looking up. When we look up, not just to the flag but to our G-d in heaven, we will find our way back.

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