In this weeks’ Sedra there is a curious anomaly in the Torah text. After detailed instructions about how we were to march, the trumpets to summon the people with the calls “Tekiah” and “Teruah” and the dispensation of a Pesach Sheni to accommodate those who missed out by being impure at the assigned time for Pesach, we suddenly come across a short section which is marked by a reversed letter “nun” before and after the famous portion which we recite when the ark is opened:
וַיְהִ֛י בִּנְסֹ֥עַ הָֽאָרֹ֖ן וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֑ה
When the Ark was to set out, Moses would say:
It leads to a fascinating teaching in the Babylonian Talmud: "Rav Shmuel Bar Nahmani said in the name of Rabbi Yonatan:
the Book of Numbers is divided into three books, and the books of Torah total seven
In the remainder of the Sedra we read about the complaints made concerning the hardships the people were suffering. They reminisce about the times in Egypt. Was it a yearning to go back to Egypt where there was slavery, but at least some degree of order and certainty, or was it a complaint about God?
What we have with God is a Covenant not a contract which can be enforced. We cannot sue God!
Certainty is something most of us would desire: the certainty of a stable home; the certainty of a stable career and future; the certainty of a peaceful life ahead. However, real life is full of uncertainties; challenge is part of life.
The Covenant is about hope. As we continue our journey through life it is our own challenge to embrace that hope in our families and in our own communities.