Behaalotekha: Something To Notice

This portion includes words that are found in the service, when the Torah is removed from the ark, “Vayahi binso’a ha-aron…“:

When the Ark was to out, Moses would say:
Advance, O YHVH!
May Your enemies be scattered,
And may Your foes flee before You!
And when it haled, he would say:
Return, O YHVH
You who are Israel’s myriads of thousands!
Bamidbar/Numbers 10:35-36

These two verses are set off from the rest of the text by a pair of inverted nuns, a device used in some ancient texts to indicate misplaced material that belongs elsewhere.

Some scholars suggest this text comes from a lost book, such as “The Prophecy of Eldad and Medad” or “The Battles of the Wars of the Lord.” Some believe that these inverted nuns actual create a separate book of the bible, making Bamdibar into three books and creating seven books of the Torah. See, e.g., “Mishlei 9:1 and The Three Books of Bamidbar.”

The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.

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Virginia hosts "Conversations Toward Repair" on We Act Radio, manages, blogs on general stuff a and more Jewish topics at and

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