Notifications Now and Then (Beha’alotekha 5776)

How often do we hear the sound or feel the vibrations of a mobile device demanding our attention? Breaking news, emails, traffic, and game updates—alerts both trivial and critical are brought to us by beeps, bars of music, and buzzes.

Although the medium may be new, the need to communicate across distances is not. Numbers 10:1–10 directs the making and usage of a pair of silver trumpets—not musical instruments, but sirens, calling Israelites to assemble, instructing them to travel in formation, alerting them to enemy attack and to holidays and sacrificial rites.

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