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The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
Take a [separate] census of the Kohathites among the Levites, by the clans of their ancestral house, from the age of thirty years up to the age of fifty, all who are subject to service, to perform tasks for the Tent of Meeting. This is the responsibility of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: the most sacred objects.
At the breaking of camp, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the screening curtain and cover the Ark of the Pact with it. They shall lay a covering of dolphin skin over it and spread a cloth of pure blue on top; and they shall put its poles in place.
Over the table of display they shall spread a blue cloth; they shall place upon it the bowls, the ladles, the jars, and the libation jugs; and the regular bread shall rest upon it. They shall spread over these a crimson cloth which they shall cover with a covering of dolphin skin; and they shall put the poles in place.
Then they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand for lighting, with its lamps, its tongs, and its fire pans, as well as all the oil vessels that are used in its service. They shall put it and all its furnishings into a covering of dolphin skin, which they shall then place on a carrying frame.
Next they shall spread a blue cloth over the altar of gold and cover it with a covering of dolphin skin; and they shall put its poles in place. They shall take all the service vessels with which the service in the sanctuary is performed, put them into a blue cloth and cover them with a covering of dolphin skin, which they shall then place on a carrying frame. They shall remove the ashes from the [copper] altar and spread a purple cloth over it. Upon it they shall place all the vessels that are used in its service: the fire pans, the flesh hooks, the scrapers, and the basins–all the vessels of the altar–and over it they shall spread a covering of dolphin skin; and they shall put its poles in place.
When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sacred objects and all the furnishings of the sacred objects at the breaking of camp, only then shall the Kohathites come and lift them, so that they do not come in contact with the sacred objects and die. These things in the Tent of Meeting shall be the porterage of the Kohathites.
Responsibility shall rest with Eleazar son of Aaron the priest for the lighting oil, the aromatic incense, the regular meal offering, and the anointing oil–responsibility for the whole Tabernacle and for everything consecrated that is in it or in its vessels.
The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: Do not let the group of Kohathite clans be cut off from the Levites. Do this with them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects: let Aaron and his sons go in and assign each of them to his duties and to his porterage. But let not [the Kohathites] go inside and witness the dismantling of the sanctuary, lest they die.
From Parshat Bamidbar. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.

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