For the second week in a row the weekly Torah portion deals with the need for a census of
the Israelites. Last week God called for a census in B’midbar, as an assessment of the Israelites’ military force. This week in Naso God calls for an additional census with a special emphasis on who is available for the various tasks associated with carrying the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary known in English as the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting.
The Hebrew phrase for “take a census” is Naso et rosh, which literally means “raise up the head.” By raising his head, each Israelite counted in the census had the sense that he mattered, and that his participation had an impact on the good of the community. That lesson still holds true today, and does so on a gender inclusive basis. (In these Torah portions, only the men were counted – but that’s for another time!)
At this week’s congregational meeting we (men and women alike!) can each have a voice, and we can rest assured that each of our voices matters. In addition to being heard, our congregational meeting allows us to learn about what is going on at Temple. This meeting is an opportunity to ask Temple’s leadership questions about our present, and, more importantly, about our future. So let’s “lift up our heads” and be counted! I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday evening.