Do We Count? The Portion Mishpatim: A Ten Commandment’s Tale

do we count?

in the present day, there are a lot of people that don’t count; individuals with severe substance abuse problems, homeless, and those solely dependent on living off of government handouts are among them. members of wealthy families whose existence is dependent upon family money, and adults choosing to spend their days and nights playing video games and living off of their parents are among them as well.

in the torah, counting meant everything. the new nation’s sacred institution depended upon everyone counting and contributing.

the torah portion mishpatim includes a portion beginning on exodus 30:11-16: “the lord spoke to moses, saying: “when you take the sum of the children of israel according to their numbers, let each one give to the lord an atonement for his soul when they are counted; then there will be no plague among them when they are counted. this they shall give, everyone who goes through the counting: half a shekel according to the holy shekel. twenty gerahs equal one shekel; half of [such] a shekel shall be an offering to the lord. everyone who goes through the counting, from the age of twenty and upward, shall give an offering to the lord. the rich shall give no more, and the poor shall give no less than half a shekel, with which to give the offering to the lord, to atone for your souls. you shall take the silver of the atonements from the children of Israel and use it for the work of the tent of meeting; it shall be a remembrance for the children of israel before the lord, to atone for your souls.” [emphasis added]

each and every individual contribution is equal. no one is special. each individual has an equal relationship with the master of the universe. this relationship includes the equal responsibility to contribute.

with this, we are brought to a utopian vision. what would it be like if society actually asked each member to do something for the betterment of society? is it possible to ask each individual to be the best person that they can be? is it possible to ask each individual to strive to become a better person each and every day? is it possible to ask each individual to seek to become responsible for themselves and their actions?

while mishpatim directs us to look at others and count them as an equal contributor, modern society has abandoned this concept. society actually creates many of these individuals who simply don’t count. when people don’t count, a society becomes divided with the oppressed and the oppressors. this becomes a vehicle for marxist principles to thrive.

be well!!

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Published by biblelifestudies

I am a practicing lawyer and long term admirer of the bible

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