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So there we have it… Parshas BaMidbar in Sefer BaMidbar a.k.a. Sefer Pekudim, “The Book of Numbers,” and this Parsha sounds like one huge math equation!
The lesson is clear – everyone is special and every person counts. Even one person missing would cause the entire nation to be incomplete!
Let’s make this point with a Shazak Scenario:
In order to read the Torah in the Synagogue we need a Minyan – 10 Jewish men over Bar Mitzvah. Now close your eyes and think of the 9 greatest Jewish men in history. Use your imagination and put them all in one room. It’s okay if they didn’t all live at the same period of time.
Perhaps you ’re imagining a Shul with Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon, Dovid, Shlomo, Rashi and Rambam!
Do we now have a Minyan with this wise, learned, scholarly, great, esteemed, revered, venerated, amazing, incredible, wonderful group of 9 holy men?!
Absolutely not! It may be the amount we need for a baseball team, but for a Minyan?! It’s not 90% of a Minyan…it’s no Minyan at all!
Now they are all waiting anxiously to daven Mincha, and soon it will be time to daven the evening prayer, Maariv. OH NO! The clock is ticking. Time is running out! Desperately, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, the great Rambam walks out to the street.
“Minyan… Minyan! We need a Minyan!” the Rambam calls out. But to no avail. They were still missing a Tsenter – the Yiddish word for number 10.
Suddenly, in walks a simple Jewish man, we’ll call him Shmerel, who can’t even read one word of Hebrew.
Do we have a Minyan now?
It doesn’t matter whether the Minyan-Macher (a.k.a. the tenth person) is a scholar, a great Talmid Chacham, or someone who has never heard of the word “Torah” before. Every single Jew counts!