This weeks parsha (and the book of Bamidbar/Numbers) begins with a census of the Jewish people at the beginning of the thirteenth month since the Israelites left Egypt. Rashi (1:46, actually a comment that does not show up in the ‘regular’ Rashi, but rather in Mussaf Rashi) notes, however, that the total number (of males 20 and older) reached – 603,550 – is the exact same number as was reached back in Shmot (Exodus) when the mishkan (Tabernacle) was inaugurated. Rashi raises the obvious question, that it is extremely unlikely that there are exactly the same number of males over 20 at both times, as surely there were 19-year-olds who turned 20 since the mishkan was completed. Rashi’s answer is that, while the Torah recounts the times as happening in different years, the mishkan in the first year since the Exodus from Egypt, and this counting in the second, the calendar that people used to determine their age was different (beginning in Tishrei as opposed to Nissan in the Jewish calendar), and according to that counting system these two events were in the same year, and hence the number is the same.
Count in the desert
No change since Sinai? A mere