Beha’alotecha – Rishon

First Day on the Job

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d told Moshe to tell Aharon that when he lights the Menorah, all the lights should face towards the center. Aharon followed these instructions.

Next, Moshe was directed to purify the Levites by having them shaved all over, then sprinkling them with purifying water. (The “mei chatas” in verse 7 refer to the waters mixed with the ashes of the red heifer, as we will see in parshas Chukas, chapter 19.) The Levites should then immerse themselves and their clothes in a mikvah. This would be followed by preparing a sacrifice of two bulls, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering.

The people of the nation were to come to the Mishkan and lay their hands on the Levites to ordain them. (The Hebrew word for ordination, semicha, literally refers to the laying of hands.) The Levites will then be officially designated as servants of G-d.

The Levites would then lay hands on the two bulls, which were to be sacrificed. They were now “on duty.”

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