Naso (Take a census)

nasoNumbers 4:21 to 7:89

This week’s text demonstrates that both our world and the world of the post-Sinai Israelites have a goal of creating a community where all will receive the blessings of God.

This is a rough week to watch televised news or even think about the news…. Fifty killed in Orlando…. A senseless act of terror…. Was it a hate crime? …or a act of terror to make us afraid to gather in public?… or just an irrational act calling attention to ISIS?

It really doesn’t matter what the motive was…. It just creates feelings of outrage within my spirit.

But, it did bring the community together, if not to just mourn. This community, however, extended way beyond Orlando, Florida. Crowds gathered in many major American cities and major cities all around the world. The colors of Gay Pride were displayed all around the world. The sadness was felt in both the LGBT communities but also throughout the straight world.

For a brief moment the focus of the world in on the tragic events of Orlando. This is community.

This is also the message I received after reading this week’s parsha last Sunday afternoon. Last week we read about how the community was to be set, where the different tribes would set their tents. This week we get a quick glimpse at some of the people who live in this community.

  • A few of the Levite tribes who will be responsible for the maintenance and moving of the Tabernacle.
  • People who have skin disorders that render them ritually impure.
  • The person who has wronged another. We learn that restitution must be made before the person becomes a full member of the community again.
  • The jealous husband who thinks his wife has become unfaithful.
  • The unfaithful wife.
  • The Nazarite who has devoted a part of his life to God.

All are part of the community … good people, bad people, caring people, and selfish people. It is hoped that they all follow the laws and commandments of God and the community. If they don’t, punishment can result.

However, in the end, they are all part of the community.

In this parsha, God speaks to Moses. Moses is to tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people … all the people … with the following words:

“May the Eternal bless you and protect you!”
“May the Eternal deal kindly and graciously with you!”
“May the Eternal bestow divine favor upon you and grant you peace.!”
“Thus they shall link My name with the people of Israel, and I will bless them.” (Num. 6:22-27)

This is community. All people receive the blessings and support of the community. This was the goal of the Israelites … and hopefully the goal of our post-Orlando world.

Earl Sabes

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