We have concluded with the taking of the census, the building of the
Mishkan (Tabernacle), appointing the Levyim to serve the priesthood,
and the command on how to transport the Mishkan.
It is interesting that the age requirement for levitical service was
different from the age requirement for military service. To
participate as a Levi the age requirement was 30 to 50; and from 25-30 to serve as apprentices. From the age of 50 they were utilized in an ordinary capacity. Why could they not serve
before the age of 30?
This age requirement suggests that to fulfill the function of service
to the Mishkan requires a degree of maturity and experience which is
not needed for military service. Perhaps it signifies that a period of
mental and emotional preparation is desirable before one is in a
position to give service to Hashem.
The message seems to be that our faith is not a once a week affair,
but a full-time occupation; that living and living Jewishly, are
inseparable. As we approach the holiday of Shavuot (Matan Torah), the receiving of the Torah, we again have an opportunity to rediscover
ourselves and participate religiously in our faith by studying and
behaving as the Jewish nation both individually and collectively.
It is noteworthy that the date of the Giving of the Torah at Sinai is
nowhere mentioned in the Torah, and is even the subject of
disagreement in the Talmud. From the outset the Torah placed itself
beyond the bounds of time and place; then and there are the same as
here and now. The Torah has meaning for all Jews, and we have the
opportunity to grasp it now as the holiday of Shavuot has arrived.
Let's not miss our chance.