How can the whole be greater than the sum of its parts?
The opening paragraph of Parshat Bechukotei ( Leviticus 26) enumerates the blessings that the Lord will bestow on our people provided we observe the mitzvot ( commandments) properly. In connection with the pursuit of our enemies, the Torah tells us:
“And five of you will chase one hundred,” i.e. the equivalent of one will pursue 20, and “one hundred will chase ten thousand,” i.e. the equivalent of one will pursue 100. What personal, family and communal lesson is the Torah teaching us with these equivalents?
Rashi interprets these verses as referring to those who are engaged in the study of Torah and explains that the power of the individual is far greater when he is part of a larger group. The impact of this group is disproportionate to their increase in number.
Can we apply this concept to our individual lives with our families and in Society?
Professor Nechama Leibowitz explained this verse by stating that the proportions are not mathematically correct and that they are purposefully out of proportion. In other words, there is an awesome power in a group of people. As more and more people join the force becomes disproportionate, grows stronger and leads to better results. This teaches us that each person has both the opportunity and responsibility to greatly magnify his influence by joining with others.
At Kav L’Noar our family counselors look at the entire family as a system in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each person in the family contributes their own unique dynamic which is critical to the whole. The relationship and interaction between the family members creates an entity that is influenced by and in turn impacts each of the members. Our goal is to develop strong family bonds that will nurture and encourage each of the members to develop their own individual potential which in turn will have a greater positive impact on society.
Family, like branches in a tree, we all grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.” – Unknown