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Friday, May 26

The Weekly Shtikle - Bemidbar

In the beginning of this week's parsha, at the beginning of the second month of the second year since yetzias Mitzrayim, B'nei Yisrael are split into their respective camps. These formations were a way of organizing the travel and resting throughout the sojourn in the midbar. Why then, asks R' Yaakov Kamenetsky, in Emes l'Yaakov, did it take an entire year for these formations to be actualized? He answers that the grouping and sectioning of B'nei Yisrael into individual camps is an idea that could potentially prove to be very divisive. Each tribe had their own colours, their own symbols and their own ideals. This could theoretically pose a great threat to the achdus, the cohesive togetherness that is such an integral component to the survival of our nation.


The only factor that could ensure that this division does not become a reality is the presence of the mishkan in the center of the camp. With the mishkan in the middle, each group and each individual maintained a common, principal focus. It established a certain degree of centrality in the realm of serving HaShem, as if everyone davened in the same shul, so to speak. No one had "that shul that they don't go to." This being so, the individuality and uniqueness presented by the division into camps was able to take a secondary role to the unity created by the mishkan. Thus, B'nei Yisrael could not be divided into camps until the building of the mishkan which only culminated a month before in the beginning of Nisan.


The importance of oneness and common focus is, of course, an significant theme to bear in mind as we approach Shavuos, celebrating when we stood together "k'ish echad b'leiv echad" to receive the Torah.


When B'nei Yisrael finally entered the land, after many years without a stable, permanent central location, David HaMelech ultimately established Yerushalayim as the eternal capital of Eretz Yisrael and epicenter of all spirituality. It is certainly fitting that during this week we commemorate 50 years since the reunification of Yerushalayim, through great miracles, the return of the Holy City to Jewish rule and its re-establishment as a venue for all Jews to come and pray. (Although, it should be noted that the actual victory 50 years ago occurred during the week of parshas Naso.) In our times, when unity is certainly one of our greater challenges, we need all the inspiration we can get to face a common direction towards a common goal.  

Have a chodesh tov and good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Al Pi Cheshbon: No Population Increase
Al Pi Cheshbon: Tens and Ones by Ari Brodsky
Al Pi Cheshbon: Rounded Numbers
Al Pi Cheshbon: Pidyon HaBen Probability
Dikdukian: Be or Ba?
Dikdukian: Discussions on Bemidbar by Eliyahu Levin

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