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Daily Aliya for Bamidbar, Shlishi (3rd Aliya)

From The Jews are instructed regarding their camping formation. The Tabernacle was at the center of the encampment, surrounded by the “Flag of Judah” — which included the Tribes of Judah, Issachar and Zevulun — to the east; the “Flag of Reuven” — Reuven, Shimon, Gad — to the south; the “Flag of Ephraim” — Ephraim, Manasheh, Binyamin — to the west; and the “Flag of Dan” — Dan, Asher, Naftali — to the north.

It’s tough to find anything practical when discussing the division and placement of camps when the Jews traveled in the desert, but there is one interesting lesson: Rashi says that the way they were camped is the way they traveled. The Levites staying in the middle had two advantages: 1) In case of attack they were protected on all sides by those more able to fight, and 2) At any point anyone at any tribe had direct access to the Levites and therefore a closer connection to G-d.