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YIP Parsha Project Parshat Bamidbar

05/23/2014 11:15:13 AM

May23

YIP Parsha Project

Bamidar                                                                   The Somach Family

 

The great census . In the fourth book of the Torah the first Parsha Bamidbar (In the wilderness)

 
   

Surely Hashem knows how many Jews there are. How many he has led out of the Land of Egypt. There are a number of censuses taken in the first 4 books of the Torah (Moshe Rabaneu counts them earlier after Chet Ha-Egel) what makes this one special ? Why is the commandment to count “every male” ?

 

Chazal generally agree that the great census – the fact that “according to the names of each male, taken individually. “ is done because of five main reasons

 

1)     To show that every life is important every life is a gift from Hashem. While we often speak of B'nai Israel or the Children of Israel . It is the individual performing his mitzvot as a Jew not the mass that makes us a Jewish People. As Ramban points out, one of the features of the census in Parsha Bamidbar is that each person is counted, by name, before Moses and Aaron, and recognized as an individual

 

2)     You, your actions as a Jew count. Never believe that the group will do the right thing or that you are excused from doing righteous acts. The counting of Bnai Yisrael represents a special acknowledgment of the people. Bnai Yisrael will be appointed to serve as Hashem’s nation. This special relationship with Hashem is the source of all of the blessings described in Torah. But with this appointment comes with an expectation. As Hashem’s chosen, the head of the nation will be lifted. The behaviors and attitudes of the people will be closely scrutinized and held to a higher standard. Being chosen and special provides rewards but this status brings with it responsibilities and expectations.

 

3)     Everyone makes a contribution. Rashi states just as the Jewish nation could not receive the Torah without this complete unity, as one cohesive unit. Each individual is crucial for the nation as a whole, and if even one individual is not included the entire nation is incomplete.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch states ”by stressing that the Jewish nation is built from many very different components, the Torah announces itself as relevant to all.

 

4)     You count things you love. When you count the things you love you do not group their as a single group. You count them individually. So too Hashem counts individually because his love for us as individuals is as important as his love for us as the Jewish People.

 

5)     The Analytical vs. the Anecdotal – The great census in Bamidar is part of the commandments handed to us by Hashem to be precise. The idea that even the smallest fact or detail should be studied and recorded correctly. So too the count of the Israelites is a mitzvoth in and of itself. An act which done correctly is a measurement of our faith.

 

Our faith is about the exactitude of our actions. So too does Hashem value that quality by not generalizing terms - “The tribue of Judah was many” but rather by demonstrating the importance and the universality of mathematics by specifying a specific number for the tribute of Judah.

 

Because of G-d’s love for the Israelites, Rashi explains, He counts
them on a regular basis. Every individual is precious. Every
individual counts. Nobody is a nobody. If a person feels depressed,
alienated and insignificant, G-d says, “But in My eyes you are a
jewel. To Me you matter. My world cannot continue without you.”

 

References

http://www.ou.org/torah/parsha/rabbi-fox-on-parsha/parshat_bamidbar_3/

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/9491#.UiSsExbp4UU

http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/110548/jewish/Torah-Studies-Bamidbar.htm

http://www.hillel.org/jewish/archives/bamidbar-(numbers)

http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/torah-commentary-bamidbar-in-the-desert

http://ohr.edu/this_week/torah_weekly/2617

 

 

 

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