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Friday, May 19

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, a 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 today we commemorate 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. Unfortunately, however, it seems at the same time the challenges to unity are as great as they have ever been. With HaShem's help, hopefully we can overcome these obstacles and bring the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the house we will all daven at.

Have a good Shabbos and chodesh tov.


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Clarification of a Sheva Na rule

Al Pi Cheshbon: No Population Increase

Al Pi Cheshbon: Tens and Ones by Ari Brodsky

Al Pi Cheshbon: Rounded Numbers

Al Pi Cheshbon: Discrepency in Levi's Population

Al Pi Cheshbon: Explaining the Uncounted Levi'im

Al Pi Cheshbon: Pidyon HaBen Probability

Dikdukian: Be or Ba?

Dikdukian: Discussions on Bemidbar by Eliyahu Levin

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