Parshat Bamidbar

This weeks parsha is parshat bamidbar. We read about Hashem’s counting of biney yisroel according to their sheyvet. Every man 20 years and older was counted to go to war. In Judaism there is a custom not to count another person because it will limit them to that number and prevents them from becoming something greater. Also, counting people makes them more like objects then human beings. Therefore, one might wonder, why did hashem command Moshe and Aharon to count biney yisroel?

There are many halachot as to how to properly count people without limiting their abilities, for example it is allowed for people to be counted using a passuk, or a person can do what Moshe and Aharon did and use coins or other objects. Hashem specifically told them to use a half a shekel to count biney yisroel in order not to go against this halacha.

Rashi gives a different answer to this question. He says, when someone holds something dear to them they like to count it again and again because it is so precious. This is how rashi interpreted hashems counting of biney yisroel. Hashem holds us so dear to him that he wants to count us over and over, to always keep us close to him.

Soldiers in a great army are often counted to make them seem greater. When hashem counts us, and we are close to 600,000, it shows how great the nation of hashem is. It also shows the wholeness of biney yisroel. The maharal says that 6 represents wholeness. There are six days in a week and there are six sides on a box, and we are 600,000. We represent wholeness, in our strength, in our ideals and in our faithfulness to Hashem. We, as Jews, are eternal and we will continue to be an everlasting symbol of strength and perseverance.

Student Studying in Baer Miriam