The JEdSTEM Blog
Today’s topic is Count
Did you know that there is an entire book of the Torah dedicated to counting? The fourth book of the Torah is called Bamidbar in Hebrew, which means Numbers in English, because it includes the process of the Israelites conducting a census. After Moses received the Ten Commandments he is commanded by God to conduct this census, which only includes the Israelite men of military age. After the census is finished it is found that there are 603,550 Israelites of military age.
Over 30 years later as the Israelites approach the Promised Land, another census is conducted, so that the lands could be appropriately divided among them. This second census finds that the number of Israelities has fallen to 601,730.
Today, during the Torah Service portion of a Shabbat morning service, you may see members of the congregation raising their pinkies into the air during Hagbah (when the Torah is lifted, and its words shown to the congregation. This tradition comes from the census, that each member is important and valued as part of the community.
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