You Count!March 9, 2020 - 12:00 am
Then the LORD said to Moses, “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them.” — Exodus 30:11-12
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tisa, which means “when you raise up,” from Exodus 30:11—34:35, and the Haftorah is from 1 Kings 18:20–39.
Each time my husband and I welcomed a new child into our family, we were careful to make sure that our other children didn’t feel overlooked. We celebrated each new “big brother” or “big sister” along with our newest family member. As many parents have discovered, a new baby takes up a lot of our attention, and our older children can mistakenly feel like they’ve been replaced or that they are no longer seen and loved. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but it is human nature to wonder how much we matter when there are others that matter, too.
This week’s Torah portion begins, “When you take a census of the Israelites…” God commanded Moses to count the people of Israel. The Hebrew words for “When you take a census” are the name of this particular Torah portion, “ki tisa.” Literally, these words mean “when you raise up.” When Moses counted the people, it was intended to raise their sense of self-worth.
God’s desire to count His people can be compared to a person’s joy at counting his or her money. God rejoices over each soul the way a person might delight in each dollar. This also explains why Moses himself had to do the counting and not some clerk. This was an important job for God’s most trusted servant. When an Israelite appeared before Moses to be counted, the message he received is: “You matter! You count!”
It’s easy to think that we don’t matter that much to God. After all, we share this planet with over seven billion others. But God wants us to know that we are not lost in the crowd. God knows and cares for each and every one of us. He rejoices at our existence and delights in counting us as one of His.
We may be one of seven billion of God’s children, but to Him we are like His only one. And like an only child, we are cherished, beloved, protected, and guided every moment of our lives.
As you go through your day today, remember that no matter what anyone says, or how anybody else makes you feel, you matter to God!