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As the Sand of the Sea

In our Torah portion this week we read of Moses taking a census of the children of Israel. Relating to that, our Haftarah opens with a beautiful verse of blessings: “The children of Israel will be as numerous as the [grains of the] sand of the sea, not possible to measure or count; instead of it being said that they are not My people, it will be said that they are the children of the Living God.” (Hosea 2:1)

Rabbi Meir Wisser (1809 – 1879, Russia) suggests that the second blessing refers to the ingathering of the exiles; people who may not even know themselves that they have Jewish roots reclaiming their heritage. This phenomenon is witnessed in our days. Many descendants of the “ten lost tribes” are not lost anymore! Anytime a person realizes that their place is with us it is a blessing for us all.

The blessing in the first part of the verse, speaking of Jewish people being so numerous that they can’t be counted, is also being experienced in our days, as Jewish people, though a minority, are visible and influential throughout the world.

When God gives us blessings, we are not meant to merely sit back and enjoy them. They are always a call to action, an opportunity to improve ourselves and pass the blessing onward to all the others around us. We use, and need to use our noticeable presence in the world to influence world policies with our Jewish ethical values of equality, fairness and kindness, in such a way that the fulfillment of the prophet’s blessing for us is actually a blessing for the entire world.

Shabbat Shalom!