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In the opening chapters of week’s Torah portion we read the following, א וַיְדַבֵּר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל-אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר: ב אִישׁ עַל-דִּגְלוֹ בְאֹתֹת לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם יַחֲנוּ בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל מִנֶּגֶד סָבִיב לְאֹהֶל-מוֹעֵד יַחֲנוּ: ג וְהַחֹנִים קֵדְמָה מִזְרָחָה דֶּגֶל מַחֲנֵה יְהוּדָה לְצִבְאֹתָם וְנָשִֹיא לִבְנֵי יְהוּדָה נַחְשׁוֹן בֶּן-עַמִּינָדָב: Bamidbar / Numbers 2:1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2:2 ‘The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the tent of meeting at a distance. 2:3 ‘Now those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadav. (NASB) These few Scriptures reveal to us a number of things. The Hebrew text states, וְהַחֹנִים קֵדְמָה מִזְרָחָה “the ones who were encamped on the east side facing the sun.” It is important to note that the Tabernacle and later the Temple entrance was pointed in the direction of the east. This brings our attention to position and mentioning of the first tribe and their encampment in relation to the Tabernacle. We are told the Tribe of Judah is to encamp on the east side facing the entrance of the Tabernacle as described at the end of Parshat Terumah (Shemot / Exodus 27:13). The flag or standard of the camp is mentioned first (דגל מחנה יהודה) and the Scriptures detail Judah’s descendants as being the most numerous and the most honored of all the tribes. The opening verses here in Bamidbar / Numbers 2 describe Judah as the most honored of all the tribes by giving them the right to camp near the gate of the King of the universe…

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