Bembidar

Shabbat Shalom,
Jacob was a good kid. He studied and made good grades throughout high school, went off to a fine college and re- ceived his degree. He was an active member of the tem- ple youth group and most people would tell you how nice a young man he was.
Jacob just turned twenty five and has joined his fatherʼs firm and makes a great salary and has plenty of friends, plenty of toys and time to play.
He has been defined by his family and his career. Jacob is set or is he?
Jacob can be counted on, counted in and even the IRS is happy with him. So, whatʼs the issue?
Jacob has been defined by others.
Some people, actually most people scoff at Jacob. “Heʼs got it made,” they say. “Whatʼs wrong with that boy?” “Why canʼt he just appreciate everything heʼs been given?”
So, one day Jacob marches into his fatherʼs office and ex- plains how he feels to his father.
His father looks down at his desk, not a word.
When Jacobʼs father finally speaks he doesnʼt look up and his voice is very quiet and has a slight tremble to it.
“Weʼve given you everything” “Have we ever denied you anything?” He asked.
Itʼs not you itʼs me! I have to know.
To Jacobʼs surprise his father finally looked up from his desk and was smiling ear to ear. Yes, today you really have grown up and become a man.
Jacob just stood there in shock. What, um, I, uh, he mumbled.
His father took him by the shoulders and proudly pro- claimed, “Today you begin the most important adventure of your life. Now, go out into the world and find out who you are and what you are meant to be?”
Welcome to the Book of Numbers. In this weekʼs Parsha Bemidbar God wants Moses and Aaron to count all the Children of Israel. Count each tribe and have them make separate camps. Each tribe is a family unit and each fam- ily needs farmers, hunters, bookkeepers, cooks, cleaning, etc.
The Children of Israel are to become more than hundreds of thousands of ex-slaves wandering in the desert. A so- ciety is being built and we are encouraged, no, we are in- structed that only we can define who we are and what we are meant to be.
Shabbat Shalom,

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