Parashat Beha’alotekha / פרשת בהעלתך

Crop of The Gathering of the Manna by James Joseph Jacques Tissot


Parashat Beha’alotekha is the 36th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the third reading of Bamidbar (“Numbers”). Beha’alotekha (בְּהַעֲלֹתְךָ) is the 11th Hebrew word of the parashah, which means To Mount, part of HaShem’s instruction to Moshe (Moses) pertaining to the setting up of the lamps of the Menorah (Lampstand), which Moshe transmitted to Aharon (Aaron). The parashah records Aharon’s response to HaShem’s instructions and continues with a brief description of the Menorah.

The parashah continues with HaShem’s instructions pertaining to the separation of the Levi’im (Levites) to HaShem from among Bnei Yisrael (the Children of Israel), the service for which they have been separated, the significance of their appointment, the age range between which the Levi’im are to perform their service, together with the response of Moshe, Aharon, and all the congregation of Yisrael.

The first Pesakh (Passover) following the exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt) is celebrated, and the parashah records the date and location of the celebration. Additionally, the parashah records HaShem’s institution of Pesakh Sheni (2nd Passover) at this time, as well as the reasons for the institution and to whom it applies.

Next, the parashah describes the cloud over the Mishkan (Tabernacle) by day and the appearance of the fire by night, and the way in which HaShem uses it to lead His people through the wilderness. HaShem then instructs Moshe to make two Khatzotzrot Kesef (Silver Trumpets) for a number of important occasions along with instructions as to when and how they are to be used. The parashah then describes the cloud lifting from Mishkan HaEdut (the Tabernacle of Testimony) just over a month after Pesakh, the people of Yisrael setting out at the command of HaShem by Moshe, and the order in which the people set out—the cloud of HaShem remaining over them as they journey.

The parashah continues with a couple of case studies in faithless complaining as a result of ingratitude and fear and how HaShem responds to it, as well how HaShem responds to the intercession of His faithful servants. The parashah also conveys the tremendous burden of leadership that Moshe endured and records HaShem’s compassion on His servant in providing him with the assistance he needs to lead the people. Amazing things happen. Furthermore, HaShem provides for the cravings of the people, but not without dire consequences for those who instigated the rebellion against HaShem.

Parashat Beha’alotekha concludes with the account of the evil speaking of Miryam and Aharon against Moshe, and HaShem’s response in defence of His servant. HaShem explains the difference between Moshe and other prophets at this time and the parashah records the discipline of HaShem upon Miryam, together with His mercy through, yet again, the intercession of Moshe.

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Torah Portion: Numbers 8:1 – 12:16

1st Aliyah: Numbers 8:1-14 (14 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Numbers 8:15-26 (12 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Numbers 9:1-14 (14 verses)
4th Aliyah: Numbers 9:15-10:10 (19 verses)
5th Aliyah: Numbers 10:11-34 (24 verses)
6th Aliyah: Numbers 10:35-11:29 (31 verses)
7th Aliyah: Numbers 11:30-12:16 (22 verses)
Maftir: Numbers 12:14-16 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
Zechariah 2:14 – 4:7

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Artwork: Crop of “The Gathering of the Manna” by James Joseph Jacques Tissot

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