At the start of
, as the
came to rest amongst the Jews,
HaKadosh Baruch Hu
to take a census of the
points out that Hashem counted
in order to display his love forthem. In fact, this was the third time that the Jews were counted within a year:They were counted once when they left
, once after the sin of theGolden Calf and once here. Each count indicates the immense love that Hashemhas for
relates that in the times of
Klal Yisroel’s Avodas Hashem
had fallen to disastrous levels,and they had turned to idolatry.Hashem gave
a prophecy, which, in turn,
. Hashem inquired as to why they had distanced themselves fromHim.
had only showered them with goodness, but, in return, not onlydid
Hashem, but they also worshipped other gods (
questions, “Why does my nation say, ‘we separate ourselves, wewill no longer come to you?’” (
2:31). Chazal relates that
felt thatthey were so separated from Hashem that they were
to return and couldnot get close to Him again. The question then arises: How could
possibly feel this disconnected after all the loving kindness
had shownthem?Of course,
knew about all the kindnesses and all the miraclesthat Hashem had done in taking them out of
, but, as Rav HenachLeibowitz
explains, they thought that all that wonderful love was aproduct of the Jews’ good deeds.Rather, Hashem
love for us does not depend on anything. Just as afather’s love for a child is everlasting, so too, Hashem’s love for
iseternal. A father’s love does not falter when the child is disobedient; all a fatherdesires from his child is that he return to the straight path. Likewise, in the timeof
, Hashem’s love for
had not diminished since
had taken the census years before. Like any father, Hashemsimply wanted
and to return to Him.The infinite love that
HaKadosh Baruch Hu
has for us was and is as strongas ever; all that He wants is for us to get closer to Him. The lesson from thetimes of
should be a source of strength and inspiration for each one ofus, aiding
in our quest to grow in our
A publication of
Boys High School
The Baal Shem Tov was asked how to develop a love for Hashem.
He advised that we first develop a love for our fellow man and a love for Hashem will surely follow.
In attempting to eliminate the barriers that prevent us from becoming close to our fellow human beings, we also eliminate those barriers that interrupt our relationship with Hakadosh Baruch Hu; in fact, often the barriers are the same!
David Ha’melech profoundly expresses in Tehillim the concept of breaking down barriers: “The desire of the humble you have heard, O God.
Guide their heart, let Your ear be attentive” (Tehillim 10:17). Having the proper attitude toward Tefillah is not something that we can do on our own, but rather, it is something that requires Hashem’s assistance.
The effort we use to rid ourselves of the separation between ourselves and our peers is the key to creating a sincere, precious connection with Hakadosh Baruch Hu.
As a Father Loves His Son
Rabbi Dov Rosenbluth