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Parashat Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20)

“As the Lord had commanded Moses, so he recorded them in the wilderness of Sinai.”  (Num. 1:19)

This week’s Torah perspective comes from Mark Horowitz,

JCC Association Vice President for Early Childhood and Family Engagement.


This week we begin the book of Bamidbar (literally, in the wilderness) or Numbers.  God speaks to Moses and tells him to conduct a census of army-ready men of military age.  Rabbi Isaac Meir Rothenberg, founder of the Ger Chassidic dynasty, notes this parasha, (portion) always falls just prior to Shavuot, which celebrates our receiving the Torah at Sinai.

A census is a systematic recording of information about members of a given population. Rabbi Rothenberg suggests the census (which is a systematic recording of information) requires the Israelites to be where they were supposed to be before the Torah was given to them.  They were in place, and they were prepared.

Moses is a shepherd before he becomes a leader of the Jewish people.  God tests Moses:  can he watch the flames of the burning bush long enough to realize the branches were not being consumed and something awesome was happening?  Only then does God speak to Moses.   Moses was in place and he was prepared.

Eighty-five early childhood professionals (among many others!) came together in early March to be counted and to prepare to be leaders at JCC Association’s professional conference.  Using Sheva (seven), our new early learning framework, they explored what it means to be a visionary Jewish early childhood leader.  They practiced using the Jewish expression of values to work with parents, teachers and lay leadership to create an environment that cultivates a diverse and vibrant community.  Because they and their executive directors have chosen to pay attention to their work in a different way, they are in place and they are prepared.

As we conclude the counting of the Omer and celebrate Shavuot next week, will we have done the spiritual work it takes to prepare ourselves once again to receive the Torah?

Kein Y’hi Ratzon- May this be God’s will with our continuous partnership.

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