Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Ki Sisa

Raise Your Head

The Torah commands that a count of the Jewish people should be undertaken. Such a count was in fact taken a number of times during the sojourn of the people of Israel in the Sinai desert. What is noteworthy is the language – the words the Torah uses in ordering this count to take place.

The literal translation of those words is “When you raise the heads of the Jewish people to assess their numbers…” The Torah does not state simply “when you count the people of Israel.” Instead it teaches us a very important lesson in Jewish and family life. A person who is counted and considers himself or herself to be part of the Jewish people has to do so by being a person with a raised head. That person has to feel that he or she is special, chosen, set aside for a particular mission in life. The raised head is the symbol of Jewish pride and determination.

The count of the Jewish people is not meant to be merely numerical. It is far more profound and meaningful. It is really a count-me-in type of equation. Thus the task of the leader of the people is not only to come up with an accurate population number but, perhaps even more importantly, to inspire and raise those being counted to a greater understanding of their role and purpose in being part of the Jewish people. For eventually, being counted as a member of the Jewish people requires commitment, effort and constant personal development.

We are all aware of the injunction not to count Jews directly, as in this week’s parsha, where they were counted by the number of half shekels collected by the census takers. We read in the book of Shmuel that King Saul counted the Jewish people by assessing the number of individual sheep. The same lesson is involved in this rule as the idea mentioned in the previous paragraph – that the true count of the people of Israel is never only in the raw number of people present. It is in the worth of the individual, the pride and self-esteem of being Jewish - and that is not something that can easily be assessed by a number.

Coins and sheep are susceptible to being counted numerically – not the Jewish people or for that matter any human being. The influence of a life is something not given to physical measurement or numerical count. The Torah commands us to raise our heads, to become more knowledgeable, devoted and committed to its holy values, observances and spiritual outlook. Each individual Jew must feel and believe that he or she is special, unique, vital and necessary for the whole nation to exist and prosper.

People who feel “there is no difference if I am Jewish, observant, or part of a people” do themselves and the Jewish people as a whole a great disservice. Only those who proudly raise their heads are truly part of the eternal count of the Jewish people.

Shabat shalom,

Rabbi Berel Wein


Crash course in Jewish history

Rabbi Berel Wein- Jewish historian, author and international lecturer offers a complete selection of CDs, audio tapes, video tapes, DVDs, and books on Jewish history at www.rabbiwein.com


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

A Place To Be
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5772

Gevuros and History
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

> Love versus Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Improving Our Own World
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Joint Efforts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Who By Fire, Who By Water
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

People In Stone Houses Should Not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Leave They Must
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

'Moment'ary Blunders
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

ArtScroll

Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Positive Speech Builds a Brighter World
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5762

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

“Live & Let Live?”
Jon Erlbaum - 0



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information