Israel Forever

For the week ending 23 February 2008 / 17 Adar I 5768

Every Jew Counts

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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One of the most disturbing features of life in Israel is the tremendous gap between rich and poor. This expresses itself not only in the differences in housing, automobiles and other elements of a material standard of living but also in the quality of education and medical care.

In this week's Torah portion we read about the Divine command to Moshe to count the Jewish people by requiring each male from the age of 20 to contribute a half shekel for Sanctuary use. No one was required to give more and no one was allowed to give less.

While we cannot realistically expect a totally egalitarian society today we should learn two important lessons from this Torah chapter — that every single Jew counts, and that we should strive for greater equality to make the Jewish state a fairer Israel forever.

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