Parshas Bamidbar

This week’s Parsha is Parshas Bamidbar. The Parsha contains the instructions for how the Jewish people were to encamp around the Tabernacle. Each tribe had to encamp on a specific side of the Tabernacle. In addition, there were assigned flags for each tribe. When the Jews traveled there was a prescribed order how they had to move from the camp. There was a definitive order which tribe went first, and in what shape the camp traveled. There was then a specific order how they encamped at their next stop. How the Tabernacle was packed up and moved, then reset up, also involved a specific set of instructions and a specific order.

This entire Parsha, explains Rav Aharon Kotler, shows the importance of Seder – of maintaining order. When there is a lack of order, even the most holy or great things can became ruined. The Talmud tells us that a Levite whose job in the Temple was to sing, and instead did the job of a Levite whose job is to close the gates or doors, incurs a most severe punishment. It is precisely this problem that this person has exhibited - a lack of proper order in how to serve Hashem. The Medrash describes how when the time came for the Jews to travel in the dessert, many people wanted the merit of moving the Ark. They would push each other to get closer to the Ark. The ark would thus be treated with disrespect. In the end, many Levites died young as a punishment from Hashem for not treating the Ark properly. This all comes from a basic lack of orderliness, a lack of doing mitzvohs in the proper order.

We know the great power of peace. The Hebrew word for peace, Shalom, explains Rav Kotler, comes from the root Shalaim – or complete. This is the beauty of conducting our lives in order – when everything is in its right place, and done at its right time – this is true peace as life is lived in perfection.

The story is told that when the great Tzadik Rav Simcha Zissel of Kelm went to visit his son, before he actually went to see his son, he went to see how neat his dorm room was. Only after he saw it was in order, did he proceed to actually visit with his son. This is the importance of trying to live our lives and the way we serve Hashem in an organized way. With this, we can reach the greatest heights, in building our own personal Tabernacle and serving Hashem.

Certainly Rome was not built in one day. Perhaps, though, this lesson of the Jews and how they encamped in the dessert can help us to become a little more orderly in the manner and way that we serve Hahsem.