The Jewish people finally accepted the Divinely ordained distinction between the priests and the Levites, on the one hand, and the lay people, on the other. However, they then complained that since entering designated areas of the Tabernacle compound was a capital offense for non-Levites, they were constantly exposed to the danger of death. G‑d therefore made the priests and Levites responsible for keeping non-Levites from entering off-limit areas.
Ecstatic Love of G‑d
עֲבֹדַת מַתָּנָה אֶתֵּן אֶת כְּהֻנַּתְכֶם וגו': (במדבר יח:ז)
[In the course of describing the priests’ duties, G‑d instructed Moses to tell the priests,] “I have given your priesthood [to you] as a gift of service.” Numbers 18:7

We see here that there is a level of relationship with G‑d that we cannot achieve on our own; it can only be given to us by G‑d as a gift. This wondrous state is referred to in the Song of Songs (King Solomon’s poetic description of the love between G‑d and the Jewish people) as “a love of delights,”1 and is likened by the Talmudic sages to the pleasure of G‑dly revelation that awaits us in the afterlife.

This ecstatic love of G‑d was felt by the priests regularly, but inasmuch as the entire Jewish people is “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” we can all aspire to this rapturous love of G‑d, at least occasionally.2