Same Count

By Rabbi Berach Steinfeld

Posted on 06/03/19

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The Torah tells us that the Yidden were counted in Parshas Ki Sisa, Posuk tes zayinRashi says the number of Yidden that were counted in Ki Sisa, which took place after Cheit HaEigel, and the number of Yidden that were counted on Rosh Chodesh Iyar mentioned in beginning of Parshas Bamidbar, which was after the building of the mishkan, was one and the same. The people being counted were the exact same people and therefore the amount ended up identical. How could it be that there weren’t any people who turned twenty during the tekufah from the day after Yom Kippur until Rosh Chodesh Iyar? We could explain that people were considered twenty only after the Rosh Hashana following their birthday. If so, it would be very understandable why the first count which took place after Yom Kippur and the second count which took place a half a year later on Rosh Chodesh Iyar resulted in the exact same amount of people. This fits in very well with the Rashi at the beginning of Parshas Bamidbar that explains the reason for the Yidden being counted a second time was because Hashem was showing his love to them. Despite the fact that the number did not change, Hashemcommanded them to be counted again.

The Ramban in Parshas Ki Sisa argues and says why should Rosh Hashana decide when a person gets to be considered the next age? A person should rather be counted based on his birthday. The question therefore arises, why was the second count the same amount as the first count? The Ramban answers that the first count in Parshas Ki Sisa included Shevet Levi, whereas the second count did not include Shevet Levi; therefore the amount of people who turned twenty equaled the amount of Leviim. The Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh answers the question the same way in Parshas Bamidbar.

The above pshat is very meduyak in the posuk because in the count of Parshas Bamidbar the posuk mentions that those that were counted were “Yotzei Tzava” and the Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shmita and Yovel says that the Leviim were not part of war like the rest of the Yidden. Since the Leviim were not part of the army, they were not counted in the second count. In the first count, the Leviim were not yet chosen so they were eligible to be in the army, hence they were counted. Reb Yaakov Kamenetzky, in his sefer Emes LYaakov on Parshas Ki Sisa, says that the reason they were counted based on Rosh Hashana and not based on their biological birthday is because when it comes to recruit people to the army, the army needs a hard cut-off date. They therefore established that one is counted only after the Rosh Hashana that comes following his birthday.

This also fits in well with why the Leviim were not eligible to be in the army, since the Leviim worked in the Bais Hamikdosh. We find that Hashem told Dovid Hamelech that he couldn’t build the Bais Hamikdosh since he led the Yidden in war and the rule is that the Bais Hamikdosh can’t even have anything that was cut with a knife since a knife is mekatzer the life of human beings. Shlomo Hamelechwas the one to build the Bais Hamikdash since during his times there was peace throughout the land so his hands were not involved in war. The Leviim, who served in the Bais Hamikdash, were therefore not eligible to serve in the army.

May we be zocheh to have the Bais Hamikdash re-built and we should not be involved in any more wars.

Do you have a topic or discussion you want to read about? Please send comments or questions to hymanbsdhevens@gmail.com or berachsteinfeldscorner@gmail.com