Torah Portion Ba’Midbar, Numbers 1:1 – 4:20.

Ba'midbar is Hebrew for "In the wilderness."

Summary: YHVH instructs Moses to take an accounting of every man, aged 20 and older, by family and by tribe.  There is a total of 603,550.  The Levites, who are to serve in the Tabernacle, are not to be counted among the soldiers.  The tribes are aligned for military movement through the wilderness, with the Ark of the Covenant protected on all sides.  The largest tribe, Judah, leads the vanguard on the east.  As the firstborn in a family belongs to YHVH, so do the Levites, of which there are 22,273 from the age of one month and older.  The Levites from the ages of 30 to 50, by clan, had different responsibilities for the porting the sanctuary and its elements.  Only the direct line of Aaron can oversee the complete dismantling of the tabernacle as it is to be moved from one location to another.