Thursday, June 02, 2011

Parshat Naso—a mixed bag

Here are the basics.

The Census of the Men of the Tribe of Lévi
Let me get this straight—we really needed 8,580 men between the ages of 30 and 50 to transport the components of the Ohel Moed/Mishkan/Sanctuary-of-the-Wilderness?! (See chapter 4, verse 48 here.) There has to be a better explanation for the status of the tribe of Levi.

Frequent commenter Miami Al once posited that Moshe, having been raised as an Egyptian prince, trained his own tribe, Lévi, in the art of war, thus enabling their ferocious attack against the idol worshippers after the incident of the Egel HaZahav/Golden Calf, and turning them into the Twelve Tribes’ chief fighting force. (See the comments to my “Gender discrimination at the Cohanic dinner table?”) Later in the Torah, we read that the Leviim, while not receiving portions (of agricultural lands) to settle, did receive a certain amount of land surrounding the cities. This would make sense, if they were, indeed, the Chosen Warriors of the Chosen People—it would force them to be the closest to the cities, in the event that defense was needed.

Eviction of the “impure”
Lepers and the “unclean,” out of the camp! Chapter 5, verses 1-4. And speaking of “impure,” . . .

Sigh. Been there, blogged that. And, in case I missed anything . . .

Priestly Blessing
Chapter 6, verses 24-26.

Senseless self-deprivation, in my opinion
Why would anyone volunteer to be a Nazarite? Chapter 6, verses 1-21.

And more gifts for the Mishkan than you can shake a stick at
Just read the rest of the parsha, in which the prince of each of the 12 tribes (minus Lévi, but including Ephraim and Menasheh separately) brings exactly the same gift. Easy reading for the leiner/baal(at) koreh/Torah reader, at least. :)

Friday, June 3, 2011 update: See my Haftarat Naso is subversive.


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