The passuk states ויתילדו על משפחותם לבית אבותם and they made themselves born upon their families to their father’s house. What does this mean? And how did they do this?
The Ramban explains that everyone from the nation of Yisroel, aside from the Eirev Rav, gathered together at the entrance of the Ohel Moed. Each person brought his coin before Moshe and the Nesi’im and proclaimed, “I, peloni born to peloni from the family of peloni which is to the Tribe of Reuven” and so on. Moshe took each Tribe’s shekelim and placed it in a designated place, thereby knowing the total of each and every Tribe.
The Ibn Ezra explains ויתילדו means the Nesi’im asked each person when they were born to clarify whether they were 20 years old or not.
Onkelos however translatesויתילדו as ויתיחסו and they made themselves מיוחס, meaning they connected themselves to their ancestors, to their father and father’s father. The Nefesh HaGer explains that this is as Rashi brings that they brought books of documents which listed their genealogy and witnesses with testimony about each child’s birth to connect them to their Tribe.
The Yalkut is bothered: Sefer Bamidbor starts with the counting of Bnei Yisroel, and follows Sefer Vayikra which ends with אלה המצות…בהר סיני… these are the mitzvos…on the Mountain of Sinai…? What is the connection between the counting of Bnei Yisroel and Har Sinai?
The Yalkut explains: when Yisroel accepted the Torah, the non-Jews were jealous of them. Why are Bnei Yisrael fitting to come close to Hashem and receive the Torah and not us? Hashem said to them, “Bring Me your documents of genealogy like Bnei Yisroel brought before Me.” By the non-Jews it states הבו לה’ משפחות עמים bring to Hashem the families of nations, meaning show each individual family. Whereas by Bnei Yisrael it states ויתילדו על משפחותם which Onkelos translates their genealogy, and Rashi explains with their documents and witnesses. Sefer Bamidbar which states the countings of Bnei Yisroel follows the mitzvos and giving of the Torah since we were zoche to receive the Torah only because of our יחוס, that we kept to the proper relationships and did not mix. In Shir HaShirim it states גן נעול אחותי כלה.. hinting to this that we remained attached to our families relationships and closed ourselves away from others. After hearing Hashem’s response, the non-Jews praised us as it states later in Shir HaShirim ראוה בנות ויאשרוה.
The Gemara brings Reb Chama B’Rebi Chanina said: when Hashem rests His Shechina, He only rests it upon families which are מיוחס to Yisroel as it states אהיה לאלוקים לכל משפחות ישראל.
May Hashem help Klal Yisrael marry into families with lineage and rest the Shechina upon us.