Beloved Beyond Belief
Yael Eckstein | May 19, 2020
“Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one.” — Numbers 1:2
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Bamidbar, which means “in the desert,” from Numbers 1:1–4:20, and the Haftorah is from Hosea 2:1–22.
Growing up, I had a friend who was one of eleven children. When we first met, I imagined that it was hard for her to share her parents with ten other people and that she didn’t enjoy the same loving attention that I did from mine. After all, how could any two parents possibly care for and love eleven children at the same time? However, in reality, my friend’s parents were just as loving and involved in her life as mine were. They treated each of their children as though they were their only child.
It was only when I became a parent that I completely understood how my friend’s parents could love so many children at the same time. Each one of my four children is special, and my relationship with each one is unique. Every time we added another child to our family, our love wasn’t divided, but instead grew exponentially. My love for my children is so great, beyond anything I ever imagined, and nothing could ever change that.
In this week’s Torah portion, we learn that God counted the children of Israel. Of course, He already knew how many of them were there, but He wanted them to know that each one of them mattered, that each one counted. No matter how many people there were, God wanted them to know that each one was precious to Him.
Today, there are over seven billion people in the world. With so many people, it’s easy to think that God doesn’t notice us. We could mistakenly think that we don’t matter very much or that we aren’t especially loved.
But the truth is that it doesn’t matter if we are the only human being on Earth, or if we are one in ten billion — to God, we are like an only child. He loves us, cares for us, and takes care of us just as He would if we were the only one. If God sees us as invaluable, then it’s time for us to see ourselves — and each other — in the same way, too.