Weekly Torah Portion: Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)


In this Torah portion, God tells Moses to conduct a census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty. Moses takes up a second census to count all of the Levite males. God gives specific instructions to the Levites about their roles in the Tent of Meeting. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“If we can find the courage to live according to our deepest Truth, then we live out of our Divinity, our utter uniqueness—and this, indeed, is how we truly ‘count’ in the world, by expressing our version of Lit’vunato ain mispar—the Divine Wisdom that is our humanity that is beyond any numbering and counting.” – Rabbi Gil Steinlauf in 2010. Read the full drash

“Can there be any doubt that looking into the eyes of another makes them less of an ‘other.'”– Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2005. Read the full drash

“Sometimes, I guess because I spend so much time in my sheltered world of mostly queer people and/or mostly Jewish people, and very little time really in the jury pool that is Los Angeles… sometimes, I forget that Torah and God like also outside of us here at BCC…” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2001. Read the full drash

“I came to understand that Shavuot is an event crucial in our Jewish history and in the history of civilization, that the giving of the 10 commandments sets up a system of how to measure justice, it provides the guideline of how to bighead a society based on certain now accepted values…” – Sandy Rubenstein’s Bat Mitzvah drash in 2000. Read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“The Israelites did accordingly; just as God commanded Moses, so they did.” (Parashat B’midbar/Numbers 1:54)

Other Suggested Readings

“In everyday speech, we almost never hear the word “wilderness” without it being accompanied by some variant of “lost in…” or “coming in from…” We normally think of it as a desolate place of isolation and loss.” – queer interpretation to B’midbar by Keshet. Click to read

Transgender Jewish educator Yiscah Smith compares her coming out story, which took 40 years, to the Israelites’ 40 years in the wilderness. Watch Yiscah’s TEDx Talk

*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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