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What Are You Worth?

Thursday, 22 May, 2014 - 7:03 am

The Cantonists are Jews who, by decree of Czar Nicholas I, had been snatched from their families when they were young children for a 25-year term of military conscription.

One such Jew, Eliezer Moshe, was a young boy and, although he had no Jewish education to speak of, he remained faithful to his Jewish roots. When given the opportunity, he would visit the synagogue to listen in to a class, often not understanding the content of the class. However, he felt that the lessons “revived his soul”. He would remain at his post and call out “Shcinta b’galusa” - the divine presence is in exile. 

Some may refer to Eliezer Moshe as a simple Jew. The Tzemach Tzedek, the 3rd Chabad Rebbe, referred to him as a Sefer Torah. When Eliezer Moshe would enter the Tzemach Tzedek’s Shul, the Rebbe would stand up out of respect.

In this week’s Torah portion we read the first portion in the book of numbers. We read how since the Jews were valuable to G-d, they were counted. The parable is given that similar to how one counts their money and valuable jewels, so too, G-d counted His people. However, each Jew was counted via a half shekel coin. Why? To show that the value of whom we are as a Jew is not defined by what we do or our Jewish education. We are all worth exactly the same to G-d.

While we should all grow in our Jewish practice, that is not what defines our worth as a person or even our worth as a Jew. We are each worth the same in the eyes of Hashem.

My question to you would be, can you see how a Torah class can revive your soul? Can you imagine being at your post in the middle of a freezing winter and what bothers you is that the divine presence is in exile?

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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