The Jewish Eye
Even in Galus Bnei Yisroel Is Never Batel!
Bamidbar is known as Sefer Hapekudim - The Book Of Numbers - because Klal Yisroel was counted twice in this Sefer. What is the significance of counting? The Chidushei Harim explains that when non kosher food gets mixed with kosher food there are various laws regarding its nullification so that the food becomes permitted again. Sometimes, it is sufficient merely for the kosher food to be a majority (Bitul Birov) and in other cases the minority becomes nullified in a majority which is 60 times larger (Bitiul Bishishim). However, there is a Din MiDirabanan that " Davar Shebiminyan Afilu Belef Lo Batel" - A thing which is sold by individual count, is considered individually significant, and can not become nullified regardless of the quantity of food in which it is mixed.
Hashem knew very well that the Jewish people's sojourn in the Midbar was only temporary. They would continue on to Eretz Yisroel and years later dispersed to all corners of the earth. Eventually Jews would be a small minority in some communities. By counting each Jew, Hashem designated him as a "valued entity" - A Davar Shebiminyan- and thus regardless of how much they would be outnumbered, they would not become nullified through assimilation with the world at large.
Math Quiz - What's More 10 Sons Or 1??
The Chofetz Chaim points out that Shevet Benyamin had 35,400 people while Shevet Dan had 62,700 people. Yet Dan had only 1 son while Benyamin had 10 sons. And not only was Chushim the only son of Dan, but he was deaf as well.
If at the beginning of the Galus Mitzrayim, we had tried to predict which of these two Shevatim would be larger a few generations forward, clearly the mathematical projection would have been that Shevet Benyamin would be far more populous than Shevet Dan. This statistical likelihood, of course, never materialized. The Choftez Chaim says that we learn from here that if Hashem wants to bless a person with many descendents, he WILL be blessed with many descendents, even if through natural factors that is unlikely. Conversely, if Hashem feels that a person should not merit many descendents, then it will not happen, even if he has the best situation "on paper".
This lesson applies to everything in life. Sometimes we look at a situation and ask - based on natural projections (derech haTeva) - how will this person earn a living? How will he be able to survive financially? Hashem has many messengers. Shevet Dan and Benyamin are testimony to the fact that Hashem controls the world. He has His own calculations. That which we think will happen, by the natural order of events, is not always what happens. Everything is in the Hands of Hashem.
The Significance Of The Numbers
Why did Shevet Yissachar have, in round thousands, 54,000 and Shevet Zevulun: 57,000? The Meforshim answer, that Shevet Yissachar primarily stressed Torah study, becoming the judges who would make all legal decisions in Torah matters and teach all the complex regulations concerning the fixing of leap years. Shevet Zevulun mainly pursued business and supported the people of Yissochar in exchange for a share in their Torah study. The word "Dan" - "judging" has the numerical value of 54, and Yissachar, who was involved in judgment, thus appropriately had 54,000 members. Zevulun was the "Zan" - "provider of sustenance"- for Shevet Yissachar, and since the word "Zan" is numerically equivalent to 57, Shevet Zevulun numbered 57,000.
Marriage Makes One Complete
"VaYamos Nadav Vavihi... OoVavim Lo Hoyu Lahem": And Nadav and Avihu died... and they had no children" Why does it say "VaYamos" - "and he died" - in the singular, instead of "Vayamusu" - "and they died" - in the plural?
According to the Zohar, before a person marries he is considered a half person. After acquiring a wife, he becomes a complete entity. At the time of their death, Nadav and Avihu were both single, and therefore each was only considered one half. Thus, together they totaled only one.
Shevet Levi - No Pain No Gain
Kol Pekudai HaLeviim....MiBen Chodesh Vamaaleh Shenayim ViEsrim Elef" "All the countings of the Leviim, from 1 month of age and up, were 22,000" Why was Shevet Levi the smallest of all the Shevatim?
The Ramban answers, when the Jews came to Mitzrayim they totaled 70 people. In 210 years they defied the normal laws of nature and grew to the incredible number of over 600,000, excluding women and children. Hashem performed this miracle to spite the Mitzreeyim, as the passuk states, "As much as they would afflict them, so they would increase and so they would spread out". In Mitzrayim, all the Shevatim except for Shevet Levi served as slaves. Since the exceptional increase of people was due to their enslavement, Shevet Levi only increased in the natural way, thus only totaling 22,000.
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