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This week we read Parshas Shemos, which is the beginning of the second book of the Torah. The Parshah begins with the following words1. “These are the names of the sons of Yisroel who came to Egypt with Yaakov; each man and his household came.” Rashi cites the words, “And these are the names of the sons of Yisroel.”He comments that “Although Hashem counted them in their lifetime by their names2, He counted them again after their death. Why did He do that? To let us know how precious they are. They are comparable to the stars which He takes out and brings in by number and by name, as it says3, ‘who takes out their host by number; all of them He calls by name.’”
Rashi is telling us that Hashem counted us by both number and name. Why were both necessary?
The explanation is that both reflect a unique characteristic of the Jewish people. In general, counting something expresses the common denominator between all things counted. Each item is equal. We measure each as a single unit, no more, and no less4. Conversely, calling them by name, demonstrates the individuality of each item.
We find both aspects in every Jew. Every one of us has what is called a “Pintele Yid,” meaning a spark of Judaism. The essence of G-d Almighty Himself is bound with the innermost part of every Jew. Counting us expresses this idea; each of us is equal, neither more nor less than any other.
Each of us also has qualities that no other Jew possesses. We all possess unique qualities. Calling us by name brings this out.
Therefore, when the Torah describes how precious each Jew is to Hashem, it specifies both name and number. That is why Rashi points out that “who takes out their host by number; all of them He calls by name.”
If we all fulfill our potential both in name and number, we will undoubtedly bring Moshiach Now!
I wish you a wonderful Shabbos!
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 6, Page 7ff.
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
Dr. Mindel Rivka (Muriel) bas Reb Menachem Mendel Shlomo ע”ה Stitt
Passed away on Shabbat Parshas Lech Lecha, 10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5782
May Her Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris
1. Our Parshah, Shemos 1:1.
2. See Parshas Vayigash, Bereishis 46:8-27.
3. Yeshaya 40:26.
4. This is the reason for the Halachah that is counted can never be nullified in a mixture of food, no matter how large it is.