In this week’s reading, Parashat Bamidbar (Bamidbar / Numbers 1:1-54)
from the triennial cycle, God commands Moshe to take a census of the people numbering those who are able to go to war.
Sefer Vayikra / Leviticus 1:49 states that the Levites were excluded from the
census Moshe is taking of the sons of Yisrael indicating the importance of the role of the Cohanim (Priests). Verse
1:50 also states that the Levites are to be in charge of the Mishkhan (tabernacle) and all that belonged to it.
It is interesting that the scriptures say vesaviv lamishkan yakhanu: meaning “and they
shall camp around the Tabernacle.” This phrase is repeated in 1:53 saying vehalviyim yakhanu saviv lemishkan haedut velo-yihye ketsef al-adat benei yisrael veshamru haleviyim et-mishmeret mishkan haedut: which translates as ‘But
the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there will be no wrath on the congregation of the
sons of Israel …’ Here additional information is given saying that the presence of the Cohanim is
to preserve the people and prevent God’s wrath from coming upon the congregation.
Read More here.