In this week’s parsha, we begin the 4th of the Five Books of Moses. This Book is also known as Sefer HaPekudim–the Book of Numbers, for G-d commanded that a census be taken of the Jewish people. You might ask what the purpose of that census might be, especially since census had already been taken in the Book of Exodus, and surely, G-d knows our numbers.
The Hebrew word for Census–counting, is so oh, which literally means lift up the heads for through counting, G-d demonstrates His love for us–how precious we are to Him that we are all a part of His master plan endowed with a special purpose that only we can fulfill. That awareness, that G-d loves us, that we count and that we have a tachlis–a purpose in life, should fortify us in our commitment, in our Torah study, in our observance and in our life struggles.
In the beginning of the parsha, the Torah mentions that starting from the second year after the Jewish people left Egypt, whenever they traveled, they had to go in a specific formation with the twelve tribes divided into four group of three with each tribe stationed in its location either north, south, east or west…each carrying its own flag which identified their group.
One might ask–Why did the tribes not travel in this formation when they left Egypt?
A flag is symbolic of one’s nationality, and if each tribe had its own flag, it could have destroyed the unity of the nation. Indeed, history is replete with examples of this….people going to battle in the name of their flags. Therefore, our tribal flags were given to us only after we constructed the Tabernacle which stood in the center of the camp, unifying and coalescing us into one in our worship of HaShem. This teaches us that every one of the 12 tribes had a unique mission in service of G-d. There were rabbis, Torah scholars and financial supporters of Torah, etc., but they were all united around the Tabernacle, and that neutralized all differences and made them one.
Even as each tribe was endowed with a unique mission–its own flag, similarly, each and every individual is special, created by HaShem for a specific purpose that only he or she can fulfill…. and the flags are symbolic of that. G-d created all people with eyes, noses, ears, etc., yet no two people look exactly alike. Similarly, no two souls are exactly alike. Every individual is custom made by G-d and has a purpose that only he or she can fulfill. Therefore, he must carry his own flag, know his own identity, and thus fulfill his task. But even if he carries his flag he must at all times remember that at the core of his being, is the Tabernacle, the Torah, and that knowledge unites him with his people.
Have you ever considered what your mission might be? What your flag might be? Why G-d gave you life? Your answers can be found in the Torah ﾖ study it, probe it, pray for Divine Guidance….know the meaning of your Jewish name, the passage that corresponds to it, and discover your own flag fulfill your tachlis your purpose in life. Join us at Hineni and discover the energy in Torah study.
What is Shavuot? Shavuot is called “The Festival of Weeks.”
We count the Omer from Pesach until Shavuot just as a bride counts the days to her wedding. Our wedding was sealed in eternity at Sinai as we, the Jewish People proclaimed those immortal words, Na`aseh V`nishma–We shall do it and we shall study it. Thousands of years have passed since that awesome moment at Sinai, but the Torah is as new and as holy to us as it was to our ancestors in days of yore. Torah is our very life, an elixir that renders us unique among the nations and has enabled us to survive the centuries. This Shavuos, embrace the Torah with love, commitment, and engrave it upon your mind and heart.