Parshat Bamidbar: Bringing Every Jew Back

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In this week’s parshah, a census is taken of klal Yisrael. The shevatim (tribes) are all counted. Each time a shevet is counted, the resulting number is rounded off to hundreds. For example, shevet Reuven has 46,500 people, shevet Shimon has 59,300 people, and shevet Yehudah has 74,600 people. However, there is one exception: There's one shevet in which the resulting number is not rounded off to hundreds but is a more precise number. That shevet is none other than shevet Gad, whose resulting number is 45,650. The question is why? Why is shevet Gad the exception, with a number rounded off more precisely to tens instead of hundreds?

I would like to share with you an incredible answer from my father, Rav Yitzchok Fingerer shlit"a, based on the Ishbitzer, Eliyahu Hanavi comes from shevet Gad. In the acharit hayamim, the end of days, Eliyahu Hanavi’s role will be to return all children to their fathers to make sure that every last Jew is brought back home. Since Eliyahu Hanavi cares so much about every last Jew and every precious child, Hashem said, "When it comes to your count – the count of your shevet – it is not just going to be a statistic or rounded-off number. I am going to ensure that every single person is counted." Why would Hashem make such a statement? It is explained that their future descendant will count every single Jew and return them to their heritage!

A man once saw the great tzaddik of Yerushalayim, Rav Aryeh Levin zt”l, talking with great respect and honor to a secular man not wearing a yarmulke who had no connection to Judaism. Later, the spectator approached the saintly gadol and questioned, “Rabbi, why were you showing that man so much kavod? He is not religious and was not even wearing a kippah!” Rav Aryeh Levin replied, “I am very short and I could not see his head, but I was able to see his heart and he has a beautiful Jewish heart, a Jewish soul, and so much potential. Hopefully, one day he will wear a  yarmulke!”

As we approach Shavuot, let's ensure that every Jew feels connected to our Father in Heaven, and they too should have an opportunity to receive the Torah! We must recognize the value and potential in every individual, and make sure that no one is just a statistic but an essential part of our community!

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