Dvar Torah Shemos — Shining Bright: Why Are We Beloved To Hashem As The Stars

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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.


    Thank you for this beautiful and informative d’var Torah.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Hafloah says, that a rebbi should be seen like a malach of Hashem, stationary, by setting aside his own edificatiion. He should lower himself for the benefit of the talmidim to be valued to learn from him. So, the Chasam Sofer explains the moon was willing to make itself smaller that the stars should be seen. The Dubner Magid explains that the moon when complaining, actually, wanted that the sun regain its original light which was taken away and hidden in tbe Torah for the tzadikim but Hasbem told it to make itself smaller which it agreed for the above.

    Reb Eliezer

    The Chasan Sofer in Parashas Bahalascha explains that each needs the other. The rebbe needs the talmidim. He should not be a baal gava, as Moshe Rabbenu realized as his greatness came because of the bnei yisroel and they became great because of their rebbi as the menorah depicts. The talmidim look to the rebbe and the rebbe looks to the talmidim. The moon by dimnishing itself makes the stars shine and tbe stars by adding to the moon’s light make it shine.


    Thank you for this beautiful and informative d’var Torah. Thank you for your kind words


    There is an interesting lesson on “daas Torah” (even if this principle is not in the Torah or Talmud) in this parsha and midrashim – Moshe goes to zekenim first, they follow him but jump off one-by-one during the trip – and due to this lack of leadership, their further role is diminished, including not receiving Torah at Sinai directly. They still stayed as zekenim, right? Or was there an election in between?

    Related in Pesachim 50: one should marry daughter of (1st perference) – talmid chacham, 2nd – gedolei hador (politicians?). Somehow, some people in our generation call talmidtei chachamim gedolei hador. Seems this is insulting both categories – lowering T.Ch. to the next category and disregarding Ged. H. as a group.

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