Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Mazal tov. On Shabbat we begin reading the book of Numbers, Bamidbar. It starts with a census of the population. At the beginning of this book, Rashi explains why God counts us over and over again. He counted us when we left Egypt, after the sin of the golden calf, and now, with the construction of the Mishkan (sanctuary), once again. And so Rashi writes: “Because they were dear to Him, He counted them often.” When we love, we carefully notice and count all the pieces of our treasure, all the precious parts of the object of our desire.
Many people feel that they are not counted. Members of every sector of Israeli society feel that they alone are a persecuted minority, that everyone tramples them. During this uncertain time, even those who do not belong to a particular group feel transparent and vulnerable, as do many parents, teachers, elderly and others.
God counts us again and again, not because He does not know how many of us there are but because of his affection for us – from a desire to interact with each of us, to give each of us a feeling that we are important. None of us is any longer just a statistic but rather each of us is a unique individual. Each of us has a place.
If only in the coming days – as we leave behind the corona crisis and the three rounds of elections – we will be able to finally succeed in creating this feeling, that all will feel represented, that their voice is being heard, that they are being counted with affection.