|Jewish men storming the heavens in prayer at the Western Wall|
March 13, 2020
|When you take a census of B’nei Yisrael according to their enrollment, each shall pay Hashem a ransom for himself on being enrolled, that no plague may come upon them through their being enrolled Exodus 30:11 (The Israel Bible™)|
כִּי תִשָּׂא אֶת־רֹאשׁ בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לִפְקֻדֵיהֶם וְנָתְנוּ אִישׁ כֹּפֶר נַפְשׁוֹ לַיהֹוָה בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם וְלֹא־יִהְיֶה בָהֶם נֶגֶף בִּפְקֹד אֹתָם
kee ti-SA et ROSH b’-nay yis-ra-AYL lif-ku-day-HEM v’-na-t’-NU EESH KO-fer naf-SHO la-do-NAI bif-KOD o-TAM v’-lo yih-YEH va-HEM NE-gef bif-KOD o-TAM v’-lo yih-YEH
With all the fears of the spread of coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of people have found themselves being put in quarantine. This week’s Torah Portion makes a fascinating statement in the first verse, as it makes a direct connection between staying a part of the community while avoiding the plague. Moshe is commanded to count the Nation of Israel. However, he is not to count individuals. Instead, each person being counted is to make a donation of half a shekel to the Mishkan, and the half shekel coins are to then be counted.
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch explains the symbolism of this method: Merely existing among others does not make one an integral part of a society. In order to be counted as part of the nation, each member has to give of themselves and contribute to the community. By giving to the community, we stay a part of society.
When we don’t participate with the community, the Bible teaches that a plague would threaten the People. As we are all confronting a major plague in the form of the Coronavirus, we should learn from this week’s Torah portion and do all we can to support our fellow members of the community. Stay Healthy and Shabbat Shalom!
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- You are not to fear what they fear…but the L-rd of Hosts shall be your fear. Isaiah 8:12-13 – Richard and Carolyn Hyde from Heart of G-d Ministries
- “When All Is Stripped Away” – Now Think On This by Steve Martin