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Bamidbar - Shevuoth

Thursday, 17th May 2018

"Count the sons of Levi according to their fathers’ household, according to their families, every male from one month age and up shall you count them (Bamidbar 3;14)" 

The counting of the tribe of Levi was different to the counting to that of every other tribe. The children of Israel were to be counted “from twenty years upwards”, yet, the members of the tribe of Levi, were counted from one month upwards. Why is the tribe of Levi different? 
 
Counting a person means that he is reckoned as part of the community. We do not normally reckon infants and children into the count of those who have accepted Jewish responsibilities upon themselves, since although they might have been educated by parents and teachers to make Judaism the main part of their life, it is not certain that they will continue to do so as adults. Therefore, for the tribes of Israel only those who were twenty and upwards can be counted truly as part of the community. 

The tribe of Levi, however, were different. The whole essence of the Levites was to be the bearers of Jewish service and Jewish learning. They therefore could be relied upon to imbue their young with absolute loyalty to Judaism. From the age of one month old the members of Levi were reckoned in the counting of their tribe, since it was known that by the age of 20 they would definitely still be on board with Jewish commitment. 

The tribe of Levi shows us the way. In these current times, when our people is under attack, we must imbue our young with love of Torah from an early age, and thereby ensure their Jewish loyalty and commitment.

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