I hear a lot of opinions about how The Torah is a human document created by humans. Our response is “what human would say such a thing; COULD say such a thing?” The Torah defies these limitations and the words continue to bring forth contemporary resolutions to eminent situations. It is very much a living document.
Our Parsha tells us this week Ki Tisa et Rosh Bnei Yisroyal, meaning “when you count the heads of the Jews;” it was a census intended to benefit them. It continues by discussing the half-sheckel, terumah, and the various implements of the avodah, such as Kiyor, Besamim, Shemen. There is a discussion concerning the Gift of Shabbos. Moshe receives the Two Tablets inscribed by the Finger of God.
Then, The Chayit Aigel. How could the people build a Golden Calf RIGHT THEN? Could there be a worse possible time? What “author” would write the story THAT way, where God says “They have strayed quickly from the way that I commanded them.” Anyway, the people are threatened, Moshe intercedes, and Hashem was vayinachem, “He reconsidered.”
There is no question we are living in crazy times. I’m nursing a deep resentment myself, even though my world is just fine. What’s the problem? FEAR. Fear of getting sick and dying. Fear of exhausted resources and homelessness. Fear of starving or shivering to death. These are true concerns. They are things outside our control. They are not the direction in which today’s fear should turn our thoughts.
There are many instances in The Torah when a census was performed after a punishing plague to see how many Jews survived. This was not one such case. This census was intended to provide financial assistance for the upkeep of The Mishkan. By supporting the Tabernacle that traveled with them 40 years in Bamidbar and was replaced by The Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalim. We lost it because of our sins, the same sins of Chait Aigel and the same sins the entire world is participating in now; There is a lack of trust in any kind of Higher Power in this selfish world.
We count how many died in the Holocaust. We count how many LIVED in The Torah. Therein lay the problem and solution both to the silliness of Corona Virus. We all will die someday according to our allotted time and purpose. Rather than worry, why not turn to your True God, whatever and wherever you find It, and be grateful that you and everybody you know are ok.
“Counting the heads,” as Ti Tisa can be translated, can mean “Be Part of the Whole” and make your efforts count toward helping others in these scary days. Some of us are much braver than others. We have a responsibility to uphold.
Besides, it’s obvious that Moshiach is right around the corner, today.