We begin to read the fourth book of the Torah, the book of במדבר or Bamidbar. The name of the book literally means
in the wilderness but is also known as
חומש הפיקודים or (
Chumash Hapekudim) or the
Book of Numbers, for the counting of the Children of Israel in the desert.
The book of Bamidbar is a retelling of the forty-year journey that the Children of Israel took in the desert before entering the Promised Land. The Parsha begins with G-d commanding Moses to take a census of the children of Israel
וידבר ה אל משה.. במדבר סיני באהל מועד.... לאמר שאו את ראש כל עדת בני ישראל.... מבן עשרים שנה ומעלה כל יצא צבא בישראל תפקדו אתם לצבאתם
G-d spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert in the Tent of Meeting..saying, Take a census of all the congregation ofthe people of Israel, every male,...from twenty years old and older all those eligible to fit to join the army of Israel\\\'(1:1-4).
The tribe of Levi was not included in this census, as it is written:
אך את מטה לוי לא תפקד ואת ראשם לא תשא בתוך בני ישראל
However,you shall not count the tribe of Levi and you shall not their head count among the children of Israel (1:49). The Levites were appointed to carry the Tabernacle and all its vessels.
Rashi asks: Why was it necessary to conduct this census? Didnt G-d count them when they went out of Egypt (Exodus, 12:37) and after the sin of the golden calf and again after the building of the Tabernacle?
Rashi explains that the reason for this counting is because the Children of Israel are precious to G-d and one wants to count what is precious to him. This teaches us that we shouldn't lose faith in ourselves because Hashem loves us so dearly that He counts us since we are soprecious to Him and He knows we have so much to accomplish in our lives.