Israel Forever

For the week ending 22 May 2004 / 2 Sivan 5764

Compensation for Suffering

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Whenever as a nation or as individuals we undergo a measure of suffering, we may derive some comfort from the census of our ancestors reported in this weeks Torah portion.

All the tribes of Israel were counted and the smallest of them all was the tribe of Levi with only 22,300 males above the age of a month, less than half of the smallest of all the other tribes.

How could it be that the tribe chosen to be the servants of G-d in His Sanctuary should be so relatively small in number?

One of the answers to this question offered by Ramban is that the population explosion of all the other tribes was a miraculous Heavenly response to the Egyptian effort to limit their population growth by imposing upon them rigorous slave labor. To the Egyptian goal of birth control "lest they multiply", Heaven proclaimed "they shall multiply".

The tribe of Levi was exempt from Egyptian slave labor. Their reproduction rate was therefore normal while all the others tribes enjoyed their reward for their suffering.

As Israel suffers today from insecurity, we can look forward to a Heavenly compensation for Israel forever.

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