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Everyone counts



As we come this week to parshat Pekudei, the end of the book of Shemot (Exodus), and prepare to embark on the grand journey into the wilderness en route to fulfilling our national destiny, there’s a striking message conveyed by our holy Torah of relevance to each of us wherever we find ourselves on our own personal journey through life.

In tallying up all the donations of gold, silver, copper, textiles, and jewels, we realise that everyone was involved, everyone gave something, the Tabernacle wouldn’t be were it not for each individual’s unique contribution.

This insight echoes the statement of our sages that all of us, spiritually or physically, were at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah. Had any of us been missing, the Torah wouldn’t – couldn’t – have been given.

The great Hebrew poet Bialik is credited with having suggested that we recite the words “Yitgadal v’yitkadesh” in the kaddish because G-d’s name itself becomes diminished by the passing of a person, and we’re seeking to have that grandeur restored.

A Torah scroll that’s missing even a single letter is invalid, and we’re all letters in the Torah scroll of life.

To put it simply, paraphrasing (l’havdil) Michael Connelly’s iconic and iconoclastic detective hero, Hieronymus Bosch, “Everyone counts, or no-one counts!”

The Rambam advises us to look upon the world as though it were in a state of balance between good and evil, and that the next deed on our part can tip the balance either way.

We count. Each of us has their own unique contribution to make, each of us has our own opportunity to spread goodness and kindness.

And each of us has something they can do to contribute to improving the situation in Israel. Some are there fighting with bullets; some are fighting with prayer, tehillim, and intensified Torah learning; some are giving extra tzedakah; some are sending clothes; some are sending their children and grandchildren into service.

We each count, thus we can count on each other.

“Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek.” (Let us be strong, let us be strong, let us strengthen each other.)

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