May 29, 2017 ~ Shabbat NASO. Maqam SABA.

Shabbat Ki Tisa

Counted

כי תשא את ראש בני ישראל - Hillel the Elder asks "If I am not for myself, who will be for me? (Abot 1:14)" He then follows that with "If I am only for myself, what am I?" While it is ideal to find a healthy balance between these two extremes, the Torah favors people who join the community rather than those who keep to themselves. When one is counted in a group, their status is "elevated" (כי תשא), and their potential is raised. In addition, by being part of the group, one avoids possible problems (ולא יהיה בהם נגף) that accumulate from being alone. The message of contributing the half sheqel (מחצית השקל) for the national census is that no person is considered complete on their own. While personal autonomy is not rejected, God instructs us "to be counted" as active members of society in order to lead better lives and ultimately in order to be remembered (לזכרון) and atoned (לכפר על נפשתיכם). Beth Torah 3/18/17.

 

 

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