- "On the first day of the second month, in the second year following the exodus from the land of Egypt"-- by specifying the date, the rabbis said, the Torah makes it clear that the census was a joyous occasion. (They actually go on to compare it to a wedding, and the census is the marriage contract or ketubah!)
- "In the wilderness of Sinai"--in the desolate places, where human beings often leave their bones, God feeds, waters, shelters, and teaches the Jewish people God's ways for forty years.
- "Take a census"--literally, "lift up the head." They will no longer hold their heads down like slaves.
How fortunate was Moses! Six hundred thousand people were present, and the priests, and the Levites and the elders, all were present, yet out of these [God] spoke only with Moses!With midrash, the creative interpretation practiced by the rabbis, there are no boring parts of Torah. It is up to us to be equally creative.