This parasha begins the Book of Numbers. God instructs Moses to take a census of all male Israelites at least 20 years of age who can bear arms. The number totals 603,550. Female adults, all children and the Levites are not included in the census. The Levites maintain the responsibility for the Tabernacle. The people are counted according to their tribes for the first time and the Levites are assigned to serve particular tribes.