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Tuesday, Iyar 27, 5784 / June 4, 2024 (42nd day of the Omer)


Mazal Tov. I’m writing this Torah Fax from New York, where we celebrated our grandson’s engagement last night. May G-d bless us all to continue celebrating simchas in good health and happiness.


This past Shabbat we blessed the New Hebrew month, Sivan. Rosh Chodesh is Thursday night & Friday. The holiday of Shavuot, when we celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, will be next week, Tuesday night & Wednesday. In the Diaspora, where we celebrate two days holiday, it will also be celebrated Wednesday night and Thursday.


Sivanis a special month because G-d brought the Jewish people to Mount Sinai on Rosh Chodesh Sivan and gave us the Torah six days later. In the Torah, the month of Sivan is called, “The third month.” In the Torah the months are counted by numbers. The first month is the month of Nissan, thus the third month is the month of Sivan. The names of the months, as we know them today, were assigned after the writing of the Torah.


This week’s Parsha, Bamidbar, which begins the fourth book of the Torah, the book of Numbers, is always read on the Shabbat before the Shavuot holiday.


The last verse of last week’s Parsha is: “These are the mitzvot which G-d commanded Moshe for the Children of Israel (Jewish people) at Mount Sinai.” This week’s Parsha. Bamidbar, begins, “And G-d spoke to Moshe in the desert of Sinai… Count the congregation of the Children of Israel… From twenty years and up, all that are able to go to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall count them.” G-d commands Moshe that the heads of each of the twelve tribes should be with them for the counting.


Q.Our sages teach us that the Torah readings of the Shabbat before a holiday have special lesson for the holiday which takes place that week. Why is the counting of the Jewish people so important that we read it before Shavuot?


A. The purpose for counting the Jewish people was to show G-d’s love for His people. G-d wanted to demonstrate that each and every Jew is important to Him. An object which has great value and importance is checked and counted by the owner from time to time. So too, this counting of the Jewish people, which is the third count of the people in just over one year, was to display G-d’s love for them. It is for this very reason, G-d’s love for us, that He gave us the Torah.


Q.Why did G-d want Moshe and Aaron and the heads of the Tribes to perform the counting? Anyone could have done the counting, why bother the leaders of the people to it?


A. This too brings out the above point that the counting was to express G-d’s love for them and to show the importance of every Jew. G-d wanted to show that it was not just a count for the sake of knowing their numbers. G-d didn’t need a counting for that. It was to point out to them and to everyone the extent of G-d’s love for them, for this reason G-d wanted Moshe and Aaron and the leaders to be involved.