Kehila News, Featured Blog by Moran Rosenblit, June 7, 2019
In our weekly Scripture reading, we find one of the most well known blessings in all of Scripture, which is the “Priestly Blessing”. I devoted an entire blog to this topic, which I recommend you to read here. This week, I would like to focus on a different issue in this parasha, which I find has particular interest to us followers of Messiah.
But first, a little background on the Levites would prove helpful. Our portion this week is a direct continuation of last week’s parasha (Parashat Bamidbar), which speaks of the roles of the Levites regarding their service of God’s dwelling place, the Tabernacle, and the manner in which they are to treat the items in it, including the Ark of the Covenant. It also explained the way in which they were to build, dismantle, and the carry the Tent of the Meeting when the camp would move to a new location. In short, the Levites were required to do a lot of work!
As I re-read our portion for this week, I noticed something very interesting. The age of the men that were called to serve as Levites was between 30 to 50 years old. The few commentaries that I consulted on this issue speculate that this is the age when the men were best fit and therefore better able to serve as priests. This doesn’t seem to be a satisfactory answer. Being on the closer side of 50 years old myself, I can say that I in no way feel more equipped to do physical labor than I did when I was closer to 30! In fact, I believe that men aged between 20-40 would be better able to do the intense physical work that the Levites were required to do. There must be another explanation.