Written in the Stars
When the Jewish nation was still but a thought in G-d’s mind, Avraham is told of the great nation that will emerge from him: “Look, please, heavenward, and count the stars, if you are able to count them…So shall your seed be.” And when the Jewish people are a fully formed nation, preparing to enter the Promised Land, Moshe opens his final address with words that echo this first prophecy: “G-d has multiplied you, and you are now like the stars of heaven in multitude.” The repeated comparison to the stars — prior to the birth of the first Jew, and, again, as the entire nation prepares to set foot on the very land promised to Avraham — warrants some attention.
Just before this prophecy, Avraham was told that his seed would be like the dust of the earth — but there, the dust was not shown to him. In contrast, before his offspring are compared to the stars, Avraham is instructed to look heavenward and behold the stars. Avraham was seventy years old, and Sarah was sixty. He had all but given up hope of having a child in the natural course of events. From the vantage point of earth, his loss of hope was logical. Therefore,
Now that the dream of the people of Avraham is a reality — in its full multitude of more than three million souls — Moshe again reflects on the miracle of their existence.
But there is also an additional significance to this comparison. By comparing them to the hosts of heaven — each one proclaiming itself to be the Handiwork of the Creator — Moshe seeks to negate the erroneous notion that the nation in its totality is just a numberless mass in which the individual has no importance. Rather, the people’s multitudes are like the stars of heaven: Although they are countless, there is independent significance to each individual. Each one is a “world until himself,” each one has his own value and is under
- Sources: Commentary, Devarim 1:10 and Bereishet 15:5