This weeks parsha, which begins the fourth book of the Torah Bamidbar, starts with GOD commanding Moshe to take a census of the Jewish people. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Shlitta asks the question of why GOD counts the Jewish people? According to Rabbi Sacks if counting devalues the importance of the uniqueness of each individual which is an extremely important principle in Judaism why take a census in the first place? Rabbi Sacks answers this question by proving that GOD actually does still place an importance on each individual member of the Jewish people when counting them. Rabbi Sacks explains that this is why, when GOD commands Moshe to count the Jewish people he tells him to do this while “lift[ing] up the heads” of the Jewish people when counting them (Bamidbar 1:2). The reason for lifting up their heads, explains Rabbi Sacks, is to give them the confidence that each of them can contribute to society as a whole through their own unique gifts and talents. Rabbi Sacks however, stresses that realizing ones individual potential should be done only as seeing yourself as contributing to others beyond oneself as well.
Like our ancestors in the wilderness when they were counted we too must remember that everyone of us counts and has what to offer the Jewish people and the world as a whole. May we take this lesson into the upcoming holiday of Shavuot were we celebrate the giving of the Torah which we did ,according to Rashi, as one man with one heart, a united Jewish people. Once we do that we can also serve as a light unto the nations, a role model for the rest of the world.
May Moschiach come soon!