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Parshah Shemot - Who Were The Levites?

In this Torah portion, we learn about the new King Pharaoh that had no sympathy or love for the children of Israel and chose to forget all that Joseph had done for Egypt. He decided to take action against the growing influence and numbers of the children of Israel and to worsen enslavement. But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, and the harder the restrictions imposed upon them became, the more the children of Israel increased and multiplied.

The only group that escaped enslavement was the tribe of Levi. They continued to learn Torah in the Torah academy Jacob had established in Goshen, and they instructed the children of Israel in the knowledge of G‑d and His holy teachings. Thus, they were occupied with spiritual matters and did not mix with the Egyptians. Only the children of Levi were not put into the slavery and oppression that the Egyptians imposed upon the rest of Israel. The tribe of Levi was bound to the Torah, this fact helped them to be above spiritual and physical enslavement. Concerning Noahides, anyone who studies the Torah regarding the 7 Noahide commandments can be saved from spiritual suppression.

From the importance placed on the Levite lineage, it is important to note that according to the Rambam Jews and Noahides, can accomplish greatness, and reach high levels in the service of G d. In the words of Maimonides:

"Not only the tribe of Levi was chosen by G-d, but any human, man or woman, who is spiritually motivated and has the intellectual understanding to set himself aside and stand before G-d to serve Him and minister to Him and to know G-d, proceeding justly as G-d made him, removing from his neck the burden of the many plans people pursues, he is sanctified as holy of holies and G-d will be his portion and heritage forever." The Rambam states that anyone, Jews as well as Noahides can follow the way of the tribe of Levi who was not enslaved but rather, prepare themselves and the world for complete redemption.


Rabbi Moshe Bernestein is a writer and a Community Rabbi in Netanya, Israel. He believes in making connections between the Jewish People and the Noahides worldwide in order to share and enhance the knowledge of the Torah's Universal Code for Humanity and fulfil Isaiah's Prophecy 11:9 " And the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover the oceans".

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