Sunday, May 17, 2009


Numbers: A Love Story
Rashi explains the lists and numbers that Bamidbar starts with as reflective of G-d's love for the Jewish People. When you cherish something you repeatedly count it. Hashem counted us three times in one year as an expression of His love of the Jewish People.

This concept of counting that which is beloved relates to our lives. We collect baseball cards as kids, shot glasses as adults, and repeatedly look over our treasures, assessing the value of each piece. We balance our checkbooks, and count our change, due to our affection for money. On the holiest level parents gaze for hours at each of their sleeping children.

It's not the literal counting that shows love, but the attention paid. This is what Rashi means by saying that counting reflects love.

When Hashem took us out of Egypt He carried us, cherished us, and counted us. Shortly after the expression of love that was the Exodus From Egypt the Jewish People strayed and our Father disciplined us with love and then counted us. When He rested His Presence upon us in the Mishkan He lovingly counted us.

These 3 times that G-d counted us can be applied to 3 relationships of love in life: The first rule of love is giving. We may use G-d's carrying us out of Egypt as a lesson of care and concern for others. However, just like G-d, we must show our love through setting of boundaries as well. As G-d showed us when He rested His presence upon us, sometimes when you love someone there is value in spending time, not to give in a specific way and not to discipline, but just to be together in love.

These 3 ingredients: care, discipline, and attention, need to be nurtured for relationships to be balanced. May G-d in his love for us, bless us in the art of love, as we each, in our own way, do our best to emulate G-d and communicate love with all the elements.

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