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A Pleasant Fragrance

“The Levites shall encamp around the Tabernacle so that there shall be no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel and the Levites will guard the guardings of the Tabernacle.” [1]

In guarding the Tabernacle, the Levites were to ensure that other members of the Children of Israel would not transgress and approach the Tabernacle. Subsequently G-d’s “wrath” would not be upon them, i.e. they would not be punished.

But if so, the aforementioned verse seems to be in the wrong order: surely it should have instead said that the Levites guarding of the Tabernacle will subsequently prevent G-d’s wrath (but not the reverse)?

It was the first day in school. Debbie was an average girl… she had a big mustard stain on her skirt. As the year progressed, Debbie did poorly in class and showed little interest. The teacher Mrs. Rabinowitz was not particularly fond of Debbie, and so long as Debbie didn’t bother anyone, she let her be.

One day the teacher had a birthday and somehow the class found out. That Tuesday morning Mrs. Rabinowitz came to class and found little gifts wrapped up on her desk. One present was in a brown paper bag. Inside was a half used bottle of perfume. “Yuck” she thought. There was a note inside the bag which she later read after the class: Happy birthday. I got this for my mom on her birthday because it smelt nice. I thought you might like it, love Debbie.

Mrs. Rabinowitz felt a chill go up her spine. She went to check Debbie’s files in the office. For the first three years in school Debbie had done well in her studies, but then in fourth grade her mother passed away.

Mrs. Rabinowitz put the file away and started to cry.

From then on, Mrs. Rabinowitz spent extra time with Debbie and even hired tutors for her at her own expense. They kept in touch throughout the years of elementary school and even afterwards Debbie would often call. But eventually Debbie moved on and they lost contact.

Six years later Mrs. Rabinowitz received an invitation. Debbie was getting married. There was a handwritten message at the bottom of the invitation: I would be honoured if you would take the place of my mother.

Perhaps there being “no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel” is not referring to the guardings of the Levites at all, but instead the wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel – one to his fellow. In other words, in addition to not transgressing and entering the Tabernacle, there was another reason why the Levites surrounded the Tabernacle: The Levites descended from Aharon who pursued peace on behalf of his fellow Jew [2] often making peace amongst his brethren [3] and the Tabernacle represents the Torah.

Accordingly the Levites surrounding the Tabernacle also served as a reminder for the entire assembly of the Children of Israel not to exercise their wrath one on the other, but instead to do just the opposite: to seek and pursue peace – not only with our friends, but also with the entire assembly of the Children of Israel. Each one is beloved to G-d [4] and so too they should be beloved to us… even if they have a mustard stain on their clothes!

Have a peaceful Shabbos,

Dan.
“The Levites shall encamp around the Tabernacle so that there shall be no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel and the Levites will guard the guardings of the Tabernacle.” [1]

In guarding the Tabernacle, the Levites were to ensure that other members of the Children of Israel would not transgress and approach the Tabernacle. Subsequently G-d’s “wrath” would not be upon them, i.e. they would not be punished.

But if so, the aforementioned verse seems to be in the wrong order: surely it should have instead said that the Levites guarding of the Tabernacle will subsequently prevent G-d’s wrath (but not the reverse)?

It was the first day in school. Debbie was an average girl… she had a big mustard stain on her skirt. As the year progressed, Debbie did poorly in class and showed little interest. The teacher Mrs. Rabinowitz was not particularly fond of Debbie, and so long as Debbie didn’t bother anyone, she let her be.

One day the teacher had a birthday and somehow the class found out. That Tuesday morning Mrs. Rabinowitz came to class and found little gifts wrapped up on her desk. One present was in a brown paper bag. Inside was a half used bottle of perfume. “Yuck” she thought. There was a note inside the bag which she later read after the class: Happy birthday. I got this for my mom on her birthday because it smelt nice. I thought you might like it, love Debbie.

Mrs. Rabinowitz felt a chill go up her spine. She went to check Debbie’s files in the office. For the first three years in school Debbie had done well in her studies, but then in fourth grade her mother passed away.

Mrs. Rabinowitz put the file away and started to cry.

From then on, Mrs. Rabinowitz spent extra time with Debbie and even hired tutors for her at her own expense. They kept in touch throughout the years of elementary school and even afterwards Debbie would often call. But eventually Debbie moved on and they lost contact.

Six years later Mrs. Rabinowitz received an invitation. Debbie was getting married. There was a handwritten message at the bottom of the invitation: I would be honoured if you would take the place of my mother.

Perhaps there being “no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel” is not referring to the guardings of the Levites at all, but instead the wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel – one to his fellow. In other words, in addition to not transgressing and entering the Tabernacle, there was another reason why the Levites surrounded the Tabernacle: The Levites descended from Aharon who pursued peace on behalf of his fellow Jew [2] often making peace amongst his brethren [3] and the Tabernacle represents the Torah.

Accordingly the Levites surrounding the Tabernacle also served as a reminder for the entire assembly of the Children of Israel not to exercise their wrath one on the other, but instead to do just the opposite: to seek and pursue peace – not only with our friends, but also with the entire assembly of the Children of Israel. Each one is beloved to G-d [4] and so too they should be beloved to us… even if they have a mustard stain on their clothes!

Have a peaceful Shabbos,

Dan.

“The Levites shall encamp around the Tabernacle so that there shall be no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel and the Levites will guard the guardings of the Tabernacle.” [1]

In guarding the Tabernacle, the Levites were to ensure that other members of the Children of Israel would not transgress and approach the Tabernacle. Subsequently G-d’s “wrath” would not be upon them, i.e. they would not be punished.

But if so, the aforementioned verse seems to be in the wrong order: surely it should have instead said that the Levites guarding of the Tabernacle will subsequently prevent G-d’s wrath (but not the reverse)?

It was the first day in school. Debbie was an average girl… she had a big mustard stain on her skirt. As the year progressed, Debbie did poorly in class and showed little interest. The teacher Mrs. Rabinowitz was not particularly fond of Debbie, and so long as Debbie didn’t bother anyone, she let her be.

One day the teacher had a birthday and somehow the class found out. That Tuesday morning Mrs. Rabinowitz came to class and found little gifts wrapped up on her desk. One present was in a brown paper bag. Inside was a half used bottle of perfume. “Yuck” she thought. There was a note inside the bag which she later read after the class: Happy birthday. I got this for my mom on her birthday because it smelt nice. I thought you might like it, love Debbie.

Mrs. Rabinowitz felt a chill go up her spine. She went to check Debbie’s files in the office. For the first three years in school Debbie had done well in her studies, but then in fourth grade her mother passed away.

Mrs. Rabinowitz put the file away and started to cry.

From then on, Mrs. Rabinowitz spent extra time with Debbie and even hired tutors for her at her own expense. They kept in touch throughout the years of elementary school and even afterwards Debbie would often call. But eventually Debbie moved on and they lost contact.

Six years later Mrs. Rabinowitz received an invitation. Debbie was getting married. There was a handwritten message at the bottom of the invitation: I would be honoured if you would take the place of my mother.

Perhaps there being “no wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel” is not referring to the guardings of the Levites at all, but instead the wrath upon the assembly of the Children of Israel – one to his fellow. In other words, in addition to not transgressing and entering the Tabernacle, there was another reason why the Levites surrounded the Tabernacle: The Levites descended from Aharon who pursued peace on behalf of his fellow Jew [2] often making peace amongst his brethren [3] and the Tabernacle represents the Torah.

Accordingly the Levites surrounding the Tabernacle also served as a reminder for the entire assembly of the Children of Israel not to exercise their wrath one on the other, but instead to do just the opposite: to seek and pursue peace – not only with our friends, but also with the entire assembly of the Children of Israel. Each one is beloved to G-d [4] and so too they should be beloved to us… even if they have a mustard stain on their clothes!

Have a peaceful Shabbos,

Dan.