Parsha “Bemidbar” (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20) begins the Book who’s Hebrew name literally means “In the Wilderness.” And that certainly fits.

So, actually, does the English moniker ‘Numbers,’ because it has a lot of those. And this first parsha gives us a major clue as to why that will be so important.

The Erev Shabbat reading begins with another important point: What is commanded is more than a mere ‘census,’ although “headcount” is perhaps a better rendering. But, literally, what Moses is told to do is “lift up the head,” of all of the fighting-age men of Israel. And everything about the process, the description, and what is recorded tells us about His attitude concerning His people.

And that time “in the wilderness” is central to our understanding.

The Sabbath Day midrash connects the ‘greater Exodus,’ promised by Moses and other prophets, the time “in the wilderness,” and the related prophecy of Hosea, and a look at cycles, and timing. We are told to “come out of her,” and not participate in the myriad, obvious, undeniable sine, wickedness, abomination idolatry, and perversion of a world which hates YHVH and His Word.

Sukkot, obviously symbolic of the coming ‘wedding feast,’ is also a time to remember and even practice to be “in the wilderness.”

Can we not start early?

Bemidbar: Pray to be “B’midbar – in the wilderness

The combined two-part teaching is here: