Shlomo Gewirtz

In The Counting House

05/11/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

Candlelighting, Readings:
Shabbat candles: 7:47 p.m.
Torah reading: Numbers 1:1-4:20
Haftarah: Hosea 2:1-2:22
Sabbath ends: 8:52 p.m.

 

I know it’s census time when I ride the subway. The ads argue, “If we don’t know how many people we have, how do we know how many trains we need?” Maybe they should just take the morning rush.

Then there’s the Jewish census in the Book of Numbers, where instead of pulling in numbers, Moses goes for the money; a capital campaign without the journal and dinner. He collects from everyone who’s 20 and over a silver half-shekel each, after which the coins are totaled up and only then do we have a head count. But if it’s not so we know how many trains, or hospitals, we need, then what for? To what end?

Shlomo Gewirtz
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