This week’s Parsha describes the encampment map for all the Shvatim (tribes) of Israel as they journey through Sinai.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 2:2 says: Every man by his flag, shall the children of Israel camp
According to Midrash Rabbah,
Each tribe had its own prince and its flag whose color corresponded to the color of its stone [in Aaron’s breastplate–see Exodus 28:15-21]. It was from the tribes of Israel that kingdoms learned to provide themselves with flags of various colors.
The tribe of Reuben has the ruby and the colour of their flag was red and embroidered with mandrakes. (Bereishit/Genesis 30:14)
Emerald was the stone of Zevulun, and the colour of their flag was white with a ship embroidered on it, a reference to the Pasuk, “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea” (Gen. 49:13).
For a complete list of the stones and flags of all the Shevatim (tribes) please see the above link.
A lovely insight by Rabbi Yonatan Grossman:
The untamed desert bespeaks a world without boundaries: it is wild, devoid of order and regulation, a place without human habitation, a place where wild animals reign. Here, in the midst of the lack of boundaries that the desert embodies, a marvelous sight reveals itself: six hundred thousand foot soldiers, aside from women and children, journeying by tribes and by clans. It is specifically against the background of the desert that the splendor of the camp of Israel stands out: a nation that creates banners and tribes, that maintains clans and tents of families.
In a region where there are no boundaries, the Torah brings us God’s word; order, harmony, and guidance.
What can I say? It’s a camping Parsha, the weather is finally warming up, and I’ve got camping on my mind. (Hello Brian and Jeannine – are we heading back to Bon Echo this summer?)
Here’s a unique recipe from Candiquik. S’mores (we’ve got camping on the brain here) with a twist.
Parshat Bamidbar S’Mores – so simple and I had a blast making them
- Stick a stick in a marshmallow.
- Dip in chocolate.
- Cover with crushed graham crackers.
B’tayavon and have a great Shabbos!