Beha’alotcha | בהעלותך | “When you set up “

Numbers 8-12:15Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Parashah 36: B’ha‘alotkha (When you set up) 8:1–12:16

Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell Aharon, ‘When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps are to cast their light forward, in front of the menorah.’” Aharon did this: he lit its lamps so as to give light in front of the menorah, as Adonai had ordered Moshe. Here is how the menorah was made: it was hammered gold from its base to its flowers, hammered work, following the pattern Adonai had shown Moshe. This is how he made the menorah.

Adonai said to Moshe, “Take the L’vi’im from among the people of Isra’el and cleanse them. Here is how you are to cleanse them: sprinkle the purification water on them, have them shave their whole body with a razor, and have them wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. Then they are to take a young bull with its grain offering, which is to be fine flour mixed with olive oil; while you take another bull for a sin offering. You are to present the L’vi’im in front of the tent of meeting, and assemble the entire community of the people of Isra’el. 10 You will present the L’vi’im before Adonai, the people of Isra’el will lay their hands on the L’vi’im, 11 and Aharon will offer the L’vi’im before Adonai as a wave offering from the people of Isra’el, so that they may do Adonai’s service. 12 The L’vi’im will lay their hands on the heads of the bulls; the one you will offer as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to Adonai to make atonement for the L’vi’im. 13 You are to place the L’vi’im before Aharon and his sons, and offer them as a wave offering to Adonai. 14 In this way you will separate the L’vi’im from the people of Isra’el, and the L’vi’im will belong to me.

(ii) 15 “After that, the L’vi’im will enter and do the service of the tent of meeting. You will cleanse them and offer them as a wave offering, 16 because they are entirely given to me from among the people of Isra’el; I have taken them for myself in place of all those who come first out of the womb, that is, the firstborn males of the people of Isra’el. 17 For all the firstborn among the people of Isra’el are mine, both humans and animals; on the day I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I set them apart for myself. 18 But I have taken the L’vi’im in place of all the firstborn among the people of Isra’el, 19 and I have given the L’vi’im to Aharon and his sons from among the people of Isra’el to do the service of the people of Isra’el in the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Isra’el, so that no plague will fall on the people of Isra’el in consequence of their coming too close to the sanctuary.”

20 This is what Moshe, Aharon and all the community of the people of Isra’el did to the L’vi’im. The people of Isra’el acted in accordance with everything that Adonai had ordered Moshe in regard to the L’vi’im. 21 The L’vi’im purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aharon offered them as a holy gift before Adonai and made atonement for them in order to cleanse them. 22 After that, the L’vi’im came to do their service in the tent of meeting in front of Aharon and his sons; they acted in accordance with Adonai’s orders to Moshe in regard to the L’vi’im.

23 Adonai said to Moshe, 24 “Here are instructions concerning the L’vi’im: when they reach the age of twenty-five, they are to begin performing their duties serving in the tent of meeting; 25 and when they reach the age of fifty, they are to stop performing this work and not serve any longer. 26 They will assist their brothers who are performing their duties in the tent of meeting, but they themselves will not do any of the work. This is what you are to do with the L’vi’im in regard to their duties.”

(iii) Adonai spoke to Moshe in the Sinai Desert in the first month of the second year after they had left the land of Egypt; he said, “Let the people of Isra’el observe Pesach at its designated time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at dusk, you are to observe it — at its designated time. You are to observe it according to all its regulations and rules.” Moshe told the people of Isra’el to observe Pesach. So they observed Pesach at dusk on the fourteenth day of the month in the Sinai Desert; the people of Isra’el acted in accordance with all that Adonai had ordered Moshe.

But there were certain people who had become unclean because of someone’s corpse, so that they could not observe Pesach on that day. So they came before Moshe and Aharon that day and said to him, “We are unclean because of someone’s corpse; but why must we be kept from bringing the offering for Adonai at the time designated for the people of Isra’el?” Moshe answered them, “Wait, so that I can hear what Adonai will order concerning you.” Adonai said to Moshe, 10 “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘If any of you now or in future generations is unclean because of a corpse, or if he is on a trip abroad, nevertheless he is to observe Pesach. 11 But he will observe it in the second month on the fourteenth day at dusk. They are to eat it with matzah and maror, 12 they are to leave none of it until morning, and they are not to break any of its bones — they are to observe it according to all the regulations of Pesach. 13 But the person who is clean and not on a trip who fails to observe Pesach will be cut off from his people; because he did not bring the offering for Adonai at its designated time, that person will bear the consequences of his sin. 14 If a foreigner is staying with you and wants to observe Pesach for Adonai, he is to do it according to the regulations and rules of Pesach — you are to have the same law for the foreigner as for the citizen of the land.’”

(iv) 15 On the day the tabernacle was put up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, that is, the tent of the testimony; and in the evening, over the tabernacle was what appeared to be fire, which remained until morning. 16 So the cloud always covered it, and it looked like fire at night. 17 Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tent, the people of Isra’el continued their travels; and they camped wherever the cloud stopped. 18 At the order of Adonai, the people of Isra’el traveled; at the order of Adonai, they camped; and as long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they stayed in camp. 19 Even when the cloud remained on the tabernacle for a long time, the people of Isra’el did what Adonai had charged them to do and did not travel. 20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle; according to Adonai’s order, they remained in camp; and according to Adonai’s order, they traveled. 21 Sometimes the cloud was there only from evening until morning; so that when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they traveled. Or even if it continued up both day and night, when the cloud was up, they traveled. 22 Whether it was two days, a month or a year that the cloud remained over the tabernacle, staying on it, the people of Isra’el remained in camp and did not travel; but as soon as it was taken up, they traveled. 23 At Adonai’s order, they camped; and at Adonai’s order, they traveled — they did what Adonai had charged them to do through Moshe.

10 Adonai said to Moshe, “Make two trumpets; make them of hammered silver. Use them for summoning the community and for sounding the call to break camp and move on. When they are sounded, the entire community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the tent of meeting. If only one is sounded, then just the leaders, the heads of the clans of Isra’el, are to assemble before you.

“When you sound an alarm, the camps to the east will commence traveling. When you sound a second alarm, the camps to the south will set out; they will sound alarms to announce when to travel. However, when the community is to be assembled, you are to sound; but don’t sound an alarm. It will be the sons of Aharon, the cohanim, who are to sound the trumpets; this will be a permanent regulation for you through all your generations.

“When you go to war in your land against an adversary who is oppressing you, you are to sound an alarm with the trumpets; then you will be remembered before Adonai your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

10 “Also on your days of rejoicing, at your designated times and on Rosh-Hodesh, you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; these will be your reminder before your God. I am Adonai your God.”

(v) 11 On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle of the testimony; 12 and the people of Isra’el moved out in stages from the Sinai Desert. The cloud stopped in the Pa’ran Desert.

13 So they set out on their first journey, in keeping with Adonai’s order through Moshe. 14 In the lead was the banner of the camp of the descendants of Y’hudah, whose companies moved forward; over his company was Nachshon the son of ‘Amminadav. 15 Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Yissakhar was N’tan’el the son of Tzu‘ar. 16 Over the company of the descendants of Z’vulun was Eli’av the son of Helon.

17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the descendants of Gershon and the descendants of M’rari set out, carrying the tabernacle.

18 Next, the banner of the camp of Re’uven moved forward by companies; over his company was Elitzur the son of Sh’de’ur. 19 Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Shim‘on was Shlumi’el the son of Tzurishaddai. 20 Over the company of the descendants of Gad was Elyasaf the son of De‘u’el.

21 Then the descendants of K’hat set out, carrying the sanctuary, so that [at the next camp] the tabernacle could be set up before they arrived.

22 The banner of the camp of the descendants of Efrayim moved forward by companies; over his company was Elishama the son of ‘Ammihud. 23 Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of M’nasheh was Gamli’el the son of P’dahtzur. 24 Over the company of the descendants of Binyamin was Avidan the son of Gid‘oni.

25 The banner of the camp of the descendants of Dan, forming the rearguard for all the camps, moved forward by companies; over his company was Achi‘ezer the son of ‘Ammishaddai. 26 Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Asher was Pag‘i’el the son of ‘Okhran. 27 Over the company of the descendants of Naftali was Achira the son of ‘Enan.

28 This is how the people of Isra’el traveled by companies; thus they moved forward.

(S: vi) 29 Moshe said to Hovav the son of Re‘u’el the Midyani, Moshe’s father-in-law, “We are traveling to the place about which Adonai said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will treat you well, because Adonai has promised good things to Isra’el.” 30 But he replied, “I will not go; I would rather go back to my own country and my own kinsmen.” 31 Moshe continued, “Please don’t leave us, because you know that we have to camp in the desert, and you can serve as our eyes. 32 If you do go with us, then whatever good Adonai does for us, we will do the same for you.”

33 So they set out from Adonai’s mountain and traveled for three days. Ahead of them on this three-day journey went the ark of Adonai’s covenant, searching for a new place to stop. 34 The cloud of Adonai was over them during the day as they set out from the camp. (A: vi) 35 When the ark moved forward, Moshe said,

“Arise, Adonai! May your enemies be scattered!
Let those who hate you flee before you!”

36 When it stopped, he said,

“Return, Adonai of the many, many
thousands of Isra’el!”

11 But the people began complaining about their hardships to Adonai. When Adonai heard it, his anger flared up, so that fire from Adonai broke out against them and consumed the outskirts of the camp. Then the people cried to Moshe, Moshe prayed to Adonai, and the fire abated. That place was called Tav‘erah [burning] because Adonai’s fire broke out against them.

Next, the mixed crowd that was with them grew greedy for an easier life; while the people of Isra’el, for their part, also renewed their weeping and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt — it cost us nothing! — and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, the garlic! But now we’re withering away, we have nothing to look at but this man.

The man, by the way, was like coriander seed and white like gum resin. The people would go around gathering it and would grind it up in mills or pound it to paste with mortar and pestle. Then they would cook it in pots and make it into loaves that tasted like cakes baked with olive oil. When the dew settled on the camp during the night, the man came with it.

10 Moshe heard the people crying, family after family, each person at the entrance to his tent; the anger of Adonai flared up violently; and Moshe too was displeased. 11 Moshe asked Adonai, “Why are you treating your servant so badly? Why haven’t I found favor in your sight, so that you put the burden of this entire people on me? 12 Did I conceive this people? Was I their father, so that you tell me, ‘Carry them in your arms, like a nurse carrying a baby, to the land you swore to their ancestors?’ 13 Where am I going to get meat to give to this entire people? — because they keep bothering me with their crying and saying, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I can’t carry this entire people by myself alone — it’s too much for me! 15 If you are going to treat me this way, then just kill me outright! — please, if you have any mercy toward me! — and don’t let me go on being this miserable!”

16 Adonai said to Moshe, “Bring me seventy of the leaders of Isra’el, people you recognize as leaders of the people and officers of theirs. Bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the Spirit which rests on you and put it on them. Then they will carry the burden of the people along with you, so that you won’t carry it yourself alone.

18 “Tell the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you will eat meat; because you cried in the ears of Adonai, “If only we had meat to eat! We had the good life in Egypt!” All right, Adonai is going to give you meat, and you will eat it. 19 You won’t eat it just one day, or two days, or five, or ten, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month! — until it comes out of your nose and you hate it! — because you have rejected Adonai, who is here with you, and distressed him with your crying and asking, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”’”

21 But Moshe said, “Here I am with six hundred thousand men on foot, and yet you say, ‘I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!’ 22 If whole flocks and herds were slaughtered for them, would it be enough? If all the fish in the sea were collected for them, would even that be enough?” 23 Adonai answered Moshe, “Has Adonai’s arm grown short? Now you will see whether what I said will happen or not!”

24 Moshe went out and told the people what Adonai had said. Then he collected seventy of the leaders of the people and placed them all around the tent. 25 Adonai came down in the cloud, spoke to him, took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy leaders. When the Spirit came to rest on them, they prophesied — then but not afterwards.

26 There were two men who stayed in the camp, one named Eldad and the other Medad, and the Spirit came to rest on them. They were among those listed to go out to the tent, but they hadn’t done so, and they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moshe, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 28 Y’hoshua, the son of Nun, who from his youth up had been Moshe’s assistant, answered, “My lord, Moshe, stop them!” 29 But Moshe replied, “Are you so zealous to protect me? I wish all of Adonai’s people were prophets! I wish Adonai would put his Spirit on all of them!”

(vii) 30 Moshe and the leaders of Isra’el went back into the camp; 31 and Adonai sent out a wind which brought quails from across the sea and let them fall near the camp, about a day’s trip away on each side of the camp and all around it, covering the ground to a depth of three feet. 32 The people stayed up all that day, all night and all the next day gathering the quails — the person gathering the least collected ten heaps; then they spread them out for themselves all around the camp. 33 But while the meat was still in their mouth, before they had chewed it up, the anger of Adonai flared up against the people, and Adonai struck the people with a terrible plague. 34 Therefore that place was named Kivrot-HaTa’avah [graves of greed], because there they buried the people who were so greedy.

35 From Kivrot-HaTa’avah the people traveled to Hatzerot, and they stayed at Hatzerot.

12 Miryam and Aharon began criticizing Moshe on account of the Ethiopian woman he had married, for he had in fact married an Ethiopian woman. They said, “Is it true that Adonai has spoken only with Moshe? Hasn’t he spoken with us too?” Adonai heard them. Now this man Moshe was very humble, more so than anyone on earth. Suddenly Adonai told Moshe, Aharon and Miryam, “Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting.” The three of them went out.

Adonai came down in a column of cloud and stood at the entrance to the tent. He summoned Aharon and Miryam, and they both went forward. He said, “Listen to what I say: when there is a prophet among you, I, Adonai, make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. But it isn’t that way with my servant Moshe. He is the only one who is faithful in my entire household. With him I speak face to face and clearly, not in riddles; he sees the image of Adonai. So why weren’t you afraid to criticize my servant Moshe?” The anger of Adonai flared up against them, and he left.

10 But when the cloud was removed from above the tent, Miryam had tzara‘at, as white as snow. Aharon looked at Miryam, and she was as white as snow. 11 Aharon said to Moshe, “Oh, my lord, please don’t punish us for this sin we committed so foolishly. 12 Please don’t let her be like a stillborn baby, with its body half eaten away when it comes out of its mother’s womb!” 13 Moshe cried to Adonai, “Oh God, I beg you, please, heal her!” (Maftir) 14 Adonai answered Moshe, “If her father had merely spit in her face, wouldn’t she hide herself in shame for seven days? So let her be shut out of the camp for seven days; after that, she can be brought back in.” 15 Miryam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not travel until she was brought back in.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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