Parashat Pinhas

A Count Of Love

The census that occurs immediately after the plague for the sin with Midian reassures the Children of Israel that they are still God's partners in the covenant.

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It is precisely for this reasonthat the Torah connects and then disconnects this counting from the plague at Shittim. After enduring the punishment of wandering in the desert for so many years, the Jews seem to immediately revert to their sinful ways when they engage the women of Midyan. Had they broken the camel’s back? Had their sin pushed them over the edge, causing God to abandon them for eternity?

God immediately answers their doubts by counting them once again, “as a shepherd counts his flock.” By cherishing each member of Klal Yisrael, God reestablishes a covenant with them and ensures that they would forever be the Am Hanivhar, God’s chosen people.

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Rabbi Reuven Spolter

Rabbi Reuven Spolter is rabbi of Agudas Achim Congregation in West Hartford, Connecticut.