5 Elul 5773
By Stacy Nagel
In the Torah portion, B’midbar (Numbers 1:1 – 4:20), a census is taken in the wilderness. Thirteen months have passed since the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and G-d commands Moses to take a tribe-by-tribe census of all the Israelite males over the age of twenty.
Some Jewish theologists believe that G-d ordered this census to show his love and concern for our people. That is, just like we count the things we love most, G-d wanted to count us to indicate how much he loves us.
The Jewish people count. The six million who lost their lives in the Holocaust counted. The countless wanderers during times of war and strife count.
Each of us also counts individually. Raymond Barker stated “You are not an observer of the universe. You are a vital participant of the universe. Let no one ever again tell you of your unimportance. G-d did not make a mistake when you were born.” You are relevant. You are important. You count.
On all 365 days of the year, a plaque sits on the wall of my home: “To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world.” It reminds me every day that even though I am just one individual, to someone else on this planet I matter. Therefore, it’s especially important that I take myself into account. As the flight attendants ask on each flight, I have to learn to “put the mask on myself first” before I can help others. So, I hope you’ll join me this year in taking care of your health, e.g., sleeping, eating properly, visiting a doctor regularly, taking time to relax. Just like Moses in the wilderness outside of Egypt, someone is counting on you being here.
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