This week’s Sedra opens a new Sefer in Chumash. The Sedra and Sefer seem to have a relatively dry opening. The Sedra starts by allocating 50 Pesukim on counting Am-Yisroel. The Torah goes through each and every Shevet and tells us the precise number of men in each one. Following the lengthy description of the counting of Am-Yisroel Hashem instructs Moshe Rabeinu that each individual in Klal-Yisroel must camp around the Mishkan in the area where their Shevet’s banner is displayed.
The census of Klal-Yisroel has been and continues to be the focus of much discussion. There are indeed many peculiar aspects to the counting of Am-Yisroel. But why is it that the Torah chooses to start Sefer Bamidbar with the idea of Klal-Yisroel’s being counted? Furthermore what is the significance of Hashem’s command to Klal-Yisroel that everybody must camp in their exact appropriate spot?
Regardless as to why Hashem counted Klal-Yisroel so many times and regardless how Hashem chose to count Am-Yisroel one thing is inherently clear: when you count a group of individuals you are both singling out each individual as a number, and you are as well grouping them all together as a total sum.
When Hashem counted Am-Yisroel Hashem was in essence telling each of the Bnei-Yisroel that they have a unique place among Klal-Yisroel, and that He values their place.
Items of little value or importance generally are neglected and therefore are often misplaced and even totally disregarded. Objects of value, however, are carefully placed. A collector will often have a display case for his collection. In this display case, each and every item will have its special spot so as to draw attention to it and enhance its impact.
Each and every individual of Am-Yisroel is special to Hashem. Hashem cherishes each and every one of us. Hashem places each and every one of us in our special place in this world in order that each one of us can best shine. We must try to understand why we are where we are, and how where we are is meant to best make us shine.
A very warm Good Shabbos, Rabbi Y. Dov Krakowski