More than Just a Separator

Shavuos is a great holiday. It's just that after Shavuos I am afraid to step on the scale. Yummy cheese cake! So... is this picture above supposed to say "desert" or "dessert"? Get it? Desert... Dessert. Aren't I a clever guy?!

Parshas Bamidbar #3

More than Just a Separator

Many years ago our great Rabbis established the rules for reading the Torah. One of them is to be careful never to read Parshas Bechukosai immediately before the holiday of Shavuos. This is because we don’t want to go from Bechukosai, a Parsha loaded with curses, straight to the joyous holiday of Shavuos, when we celebrate the Giving of the Torah. So these Rabbis had a great idea, “From now on, Parshas BaMidbar must be read in the Synagogue before Shavuos.”

But certainly Parshas BaMidbar serves as more than just a “buffer zone” – it’s not just a dividing fence between the curses of Bechukosai and the joy of Matan Torah.

Indeed, it is a perfect introduction to Shavuos, and for many reasons:

  1. First of all, the very first words of BaMidbar are BaMidbar Sinai, translated “in the desert Sinai,” and there, at Mt. Sinai, is where Bnei Yisrael received the Torah.
  2. Also, BaMidbar is a desert, a place that belongs to nobody and yet it belongs to everybody. If you want to pick a flower in a desert, go ahead. (Yes, believe it or not, there are flowers in the desert.)

Nobody else can claim ownership and this is an important lesson for us. There’s no person or group that can say, “The Torah belongs to us, the scholars, the wise and great sages.” Absolutely not! The Torah belongs to every single Jew. It’s HaShem’s gift to everyone – young and old!

  1. BaMidbar is all about numbers, counting. Every Jew is counted as one number – no more, no less. This is how HaShem shows us how special we are – every Jew has a special Neshamah, an extraordinary soul!

Put these 3 reasons together and there’s no better Parsha than BaMidbar to read, as we prepare to celebrate the giving of the Torah on Shavuos!