Short Parsha Riddles: Bamidbar / בְּמִדְבַּר

בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 1:1-4:20

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Welcome to the Book of Numbers… a special Quiz that’s all about Counting!

image [1a]

Count the soldiers, Hashem asks,
Be sure our side has plenty,
But do not count the youngest men
Whose age is less than __________!


The parsha gives us helpful counts
Each shevet’s soldiers, large amounts,
But one thing’s still not clear in sight –
How old are those too old to fight???


Now while we’re counting, don’t you forget
If you don’t know the number yet,
You can’t just point and number Jews;
So how to count and know who’s whose?


Here’s a question to ask at your seudah,
The biggest shevet was Shevet Yehudah,
But who’s the second-biggest one?
You’d guess right if you said… __________!


Think we’re done counting?  Just hold up a bit
Read through those names again lickety-split;
We’ve learned all the names, but if you check the list,
Two new names appear here from one that’s dismissed!  Who are they?

[5] – BONUS!

Shevet Levi’s set aside, marked for greater things,
So different rules for Levi our weekly parsha brings
Count not just the grown-ups, but little babies, too;
This woman’s birth so long ago shows us why it’s true.  Who is she?

STUMPED?? Here are some answers: 
[ 1a ] Twenty
[ 1b ] Bamidbar Rabba, the Ralbag (Gershonides) and the Ramban (Nachmanides) concur that the upper age for army service was sixty.
[ 2 ] Rashi (1:2) says that just like in Shemos, they were counted by giving half-shekel coins.  As it says in Hosheya 10:1, “bnei Yisrael… shall neither be measured or counted.”
[ 3 ] Dan.
[ 4 ] Efrayim and Menasheh appear instead of Yosef, bringing the count back to 12 shevatim after Levi has been removed and counted separately.
[ 5 ] Yocheved.  Rashi (3:15) says that she (a member of Shevet Levi) was counted just moments after birth among the 70 Jews who descended into Mitzrayim.



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