Parashat Ki Tisa

IT IS STRANGE that in this parashah, when God asked Moses to count the children of Israel to know how many there were, He did it indirectly, that is, by means of a coin that each one had to bring to Moses. God even explains the reason to Moses: to prevent the children of Israel from getting sick and dying if they were counted per head. But why would they be punished with plagues? Besides, if they deserved punishment, what was the point of their being counted by coins? The commentator Rashi, of blessed memory, explains that the first time Moshe counted the people was after the sin of the golden calf, when many of them died from the plague. But did God not know how many of the people remained? Rashi answers this question with a parable: Several sheep of a flock die, and although the owner of the flock could ignore the loss of some sheep, the affection he felt was so great that he asked the shepherd to count them to see how many were left. We could think that after the terrible capital sin of Idolatry committed by the children of Israel, God wanted to erase from “His memory” such sinners, however, this beautiful parable teaches us that every creature is precious in the eyes of God, regardless of their spiritual level. (That does not mean that there is no accountability before Him, as it happened after the sin). The coins brought into the tabernacle to atone for the golden calf represented just that, that no matter how far you feel from God, you can remedy your past by your good deeds in the future. To give up and not keep on struggling to try to improve is a harmful strategy of our Evil Instinct, for as RavNoach Weinberg of blessed memory says, we are not sinners, we are simply confused…

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