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Why Count?

By: Rabbi Daniel Goldstein

This week's Parsha, Bamidbar, features the second of three censuses found scattered throughout the Torah. The need for the first, which we find in Parshat Ki Tisa, is self evident. The last, in Parshat Pinchas, is understandable as well, as it was taken 39 years after the first as the nation filled with new blood was preparing to enter Israel. But the middle one—the one from our Parsha—requires justification. After all, a census had just been taken, why take another?

The Ramban has a wonderful explanation. He says that the reason for the counting was really so that Bnei Yisrael would have an opportunity to come into direct contact with Moses and Aharon. With so many people in the nation, not everyone had the chance to meet these great luminaries. However, Hashem wanted each and every Jew to have the chance to encounter Moshe and Aharon up close, at least once. The impact of such meetings would no doubt remove the distance that might have existed between the "simple Jews" and the greatest ones. Who know how many people were inspired to achieve greater heights in spiritual growth through that small brush with greatness.

Every week, this Shabbat email has contained a Dvar Torah from one of the students at Midreshet Amit. In much the same way, our weekly Divrei Torah accomplished the same purpose. Young women, who may have felt removed from the creative processes of Torah at the start of the year, embraced the opportunity to be part of it. Through their work, they met the luminaries of the generations—Rashi and Ramban; Netziv, Meshech Chochma, Nechama Leibowitz, and many others.

We hope you enjoyed the fruit of their efforts, and maybe got a little nachas from them as well. And to the young writers—yasher kochachem. Let us always remember the lesson that Hashem taught us through the mitzvah of the census: the Torah is always more sweet when you see if from up close. Shabbat Shalom!