Today we ask the database query:
Does one's neighborhood influence character?
To answer the query recall that the Jews camped in a square
in the wilderness. Each side of the square had 3 tribes.
The southern side of the camp had Reuben, Shimon, and Gad.
The table below shows that although the national census
remained stable (a drop of only -0.3%) between the first
and second census, nevertheless, the southern side of the
camp dropped 30%. In the table below we identify sins of
each of the southern-side tribes. Overall the table gives
a picture that bad people tend to live with bad people,
suggesting that one should avoid bad neighborhoods when one can.
There are a wealth of philosophical questions connected
with such an approach. We, like Rashi, suffice with noting
the results of the table leaving each person to make their
||Prostitution with Moabites
||Rejecting Land of Israel
||Nation didn't sin
Advanced Rashi: Rashi actually states
The Kehathite branch of the Levites (from which Korach
who rebelled came) lived near the southern camp. This
facilitated the association of Levi and Reuben. We have
generalized the approach of Rashi. We seek all people associated
with the southern side and review their behavior. The review shows
that the Rashi comment - people who live together get involved
in the same type of moral behavior - is true in general and
does not apply only to the Kehatites-Reubenites. Such a generalizing
approach enriches our understanding of Rashi and is therefore the
proper method to be used.
Todays Rashi is already sermonic - Good neighborhoods
have positive influence! Bad neighborhoods have