The Torah – The Book BaMidbar, Chapter Baalotkha

The Torah. The Book Bamidbar. Chapter Baalotkha (abridged)

And G-d said to Moses: “Tell Aaron: when you light the lamps, seven lamps shall turn their light to the front of the Menorah.” And the structure of the Menorah is as follows: it is forged from a single ingot of pure gold, to its very foundation. According to the image that G-d showed to Moses.”

And G-d said to Moses: “Take the Levites out of the environment of the children of Israel and purify them: sprinkle them with purifying water, let them shave their bodies and cleanse their garments and purify themselves. And you shall lead the Levites to the Tent of Revelation, and you shall gather the entire community of the children of Israel. And the Levites shall come before G-d, and the children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites. And Aaron shall devote the Levites to G-d on behalf of the children of Israel, so they shall serve G-d. Thus you will separate the Levites from the environment of the children of Israel and the Levites shall become Mine.”

And G-d said to Moses: “About Levites: from the age of twenty five years and on let each serve to do the work in the Tent of Revelation. And at age fifty let him return from his work and work no longer, but serve his brothers in the Tent of Revelation and guard it, but not do any more work.”

And G-d said to Moses in the Sinai desert, on the second year after their escape from the land of Egypt, on the first month: “Let the sons of Israel perform a Paschal sacrifice on the fourteenth day of this month, in the twilight, in accordance with all the laws.” But there were some who were impure, for they have touched the dead, and they could not perform the Paschal sacrifice on that day.

And G-d said to Moses: “Whoever is impure, for he has touched the dead, or is on a path far away, let him perform the Paschal sacrifice on the second month, on the fourteenth day in the twilight, let him eat it with matzo and bitter herbs.”

And on the day when the Tent of Revelation was erected, a cloud covered the Tent, and from evening a fiery presence was over the Tent until morning. And so it was always: a cloud covered it during the day, and a fiery presence at night. And when the cloud would rise from the Tent, the sons of Israel followed it; and wherever the cloud would descend, the son of Israel stopped and made camp.

And G-d said to Moses: “Make for yourself two silver horns, to gather the people and pick up camps. The sons of Aaron must blow the horns. And when you go to war against your enemy in your land, blow the horns and G-d shall remember you, and you shall be saved from your enemies.”

And on the second year, on the second month, on the twentieth day the cloud rose from the Tent of Revelation. And the sons of Israel moved from the Sinai desert, and the cloud descended in the Paran desert.

And the people started complaining at G-d, and G-d heard them, and His anger flared up, and fire blazed up and devoured an edge of the camp. And the people cried out to Moses, and Moses prayed to G-d, and the fire died down. And the rabble among them began acting capriciously, and the sons of Israel wept once more and said: “Who shall feed us meat? We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for free, cucumbers and cantaloupes, and herbs, and onion, and garlic.

But now our soul has withered, and there is nothing but mann!” The mann resembled the coriander seed, and looked like a crystal. People dispersed, and harvested, and grinded it in millstones or pounded it in a mortar, and cooked it in a cauldron, and made round cakes from it, and it tasted of tender butter. And when the dew descended on the camp at night, the mann descended along with it.
And Moses heard the people weep. And Moses said to G-d: “Why do you lay the burden of all the people onto me? Where would I find meat?”

And G-d said to Moses: “Gather for Me seventy people from the elders of Israel, and bring them to the Tent of Revelation. And I shall come down and speak there with you, and I shall take from the spirit that is upon you, and I shall lay it onto them, so that they will share with you the burden of this people, and you will not bear it alone. And to these people say: ‘Prepare for tomorrow and you shall eat meat! And G-d shall give you meat and you shall eat it for a month, until it comes out your nose and becomes an aversion for you, because you wept before Him, saying: why did we escape from Egypt?’”

And Moses said: “The people number six hundred thousand on foot. Even the cattle shall be slaughtered for them, but will it be enough for them?” And G-d said to Moses: “Is the hand of G-d so short, indeed?”

And the wind rose by the will of G-d, and brought quails from the sea, and covered the camp with them. And the people rose and collected the quails. And their teeth had not finished chewing the meat when God’s anger flared up onto the people, and G-d sent the plague onto the people. And that place was named “Kivrot-Ataava,” for that is where the capricious people were buried.

And Miriam spoke with Aaron against Moses regarding the kushit, whom he took as a wife: “Did G-d only speak to Moses? No, he spoke to us as well!” And G-d heard this. And G-d turned suddenly to Moses and to Aaron and to Miriam, and said: “The three of you, go to the Tent of Revelation! Listen: if there is a prophet of G-d among you, then I reveal myself to him in a vision, and speak to him in a dream. Not like with My slave Moses: he is entrusted in My entire Abode. From mouth to mouth I speak to him, and clearly, and not in riddles, and he sees G-d’s image. So why are you not scared to speak against My slave Moses?” And behold – Miriam was covered with leprosy, like with snow. And Aaron said to Moses: “I beg you, my master, do not deem it a sin that we have acted foolishly and sinned!” And Moses cried out to G-d. And G-d said to Moses: “Let her be confined for seven days outside the camp.”

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