Classics and Beyond Shemos 1 – Shining Bright:

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    Shemos 1 – Shining Bright:
    ואלה שמות בני ישראל הבאים מצרימה את יעקב איש וביתו באו
    And these are the names of the Children of Israel who came to Egypt; with Yaakov each man and his household came (Shemos 1:1).
    Rashi explains that even though Hashem counted the sons of Yisrael in their lifetime, He counted them again after their deaths. We see from here how precious they are to Him; they are compared to the stars, which Hashem brings out and brings in by number and by name. This is as it says, “Hamotzi ve’mispar tzeva’am le’chulam be’sheim yikra – He Who takes out their hosts by number; He calls them all by name” (Yeshayahu 40:26).
    Why are we compared to, and beloved by Hashem, like stars? Yes, we all can shine and we have the potential to radiate brilliantly, but is that where the comparison ends or is there something more? Additionally, what is it about stars that Hashem finds so endearing?
    It is not possible for the human mind to comprehend, let alone count, the amount of stars in the universe. The adjective “astronomical” applies both literally and figuratively. As Hashem told Avraham, “Habet na hashamayemah u’sefor hakochavim im tuchal lispor osam – Gaze, now, toward the heavens and count the stars if you are able to count them” (Bereishis 15:5). Yet for Hashem, every star has a name and is something important, as we see from the pasuk quoted above by Rashi.
    Rav Aryeh Leib Bakst (cited in Ke’Motzei Shallal Rav) explains that Hashem’s chibah toward stars is for the appeasing and conciliatory nature of their very existence. Chazal tell us that at first, the sun and the moon were the same size, but the moon complained that there must be only one “king of the sky.” In response, Hashem told the moon to make itself small. However, rather than leaving it there, with the moon’s size and ego diminished, Hashem created the stars to enhance the night sky (Rashi Bereishis 1:16, based on Bereishis Rabbah 6:4).
    The very creation of the stars, their raison d’être, is to comfort and console – to soothe and mollify the feelings of the moon. Such an entity, whose noble purpose is to appease and support another, shines brightly in Hashem’s eyes. Hence, He takes each one out and counts them all by name.
    In this sense, writes Rav Bakst, we are beloved to Hashem and counted by Him, just like the stars. Since we are rachmanim and gomlei chasadim, a nation who lends support and comfort to others, we also shine bright in His eyes.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Haflaah says that a rebbi to be learned from should be like angel of G-d who stays constant and does not elevate itself. The rebbi in order to show the greatness of his talmidim acts like a malach putting aside his gadlus by allowing them to shine. Similarly the Chasam Sofer, the student, says that the moon was willing to make itself smaller in order that the stars should be able to shine. The Maasei Hashem says that Avraham Avinu was shown the stars to reflect how we should shine in galus by publicizing the existence of Hashem, lefarsem elokuso.

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