The Golden Menorah
This Portion (B’Halot’cha) means “When you ascend.” It comes from the first verse of the portion, which is literally translated as “When you ascend the lamps,” a reference to the priest having to step up to clean and light the lamps of the menorah.
Purification of the Levites
The Levites are consecrated by individual washing, shaving, and sacrifices. Only after the consecration rituals can the congregation lay their hands upon them, as they do for the Yom Kippur Sin Offering. The Levites represent a wave offering to God. They are assigned by God to perform the duties of the Tabernacle and to assist the Priests in making atonement for the Children of Israel.
Preparing to Depart
After celebrating the first Passover in the wilderness, the Children of Israel are signaled by the Cloud of Guidance that it is time to depart. The silver trumpets are sounded to start the departure process: the Levites disassemble the Tabernacle and prepare it for travel, and the Tribes begin the three-day march to the next camp.
The Murmuring Continues
The people complain about the manna and God sends quail for them to eat – so much that it comes out of their noses! Even Aaron and Miriam complain to Moses about his leadership; God confirms that Moses is His Man and temporarily punishes Miriam for her disobedience.