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    Banners & borders – B’midbar

    The Israelite camp in the wilderness was massive and sprawling. How did people find their way home? The Torah says that the camp was organised, “everyone according to his banner and sign, according to one’s father’s house” (Num. 2:1-2).

    The Tabernacle was in the centre. Grouped around it were the tribes – Judah in the east, Simeon in the south, Dan in the north, Ephraim in the west. The camp was laid out in geometrical precision and the area allocated to each tribe had its flag.

    The Midrash (Num. R. 2:3) says that the structure was motivated by the Almighty’s wish to give dignity to each tribe. Thousands of ministering angels worked on the design of the camp. Each group of angels subsequently identified with one of the tribes so that no tribe could lose its identity and no individual could end up in the wrong section of the camp.

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