The Torah portion, or parasha, this week is called Bamidbar and is found in Numbers 1:1-4:20. This week we leave Leviticus behind and move on to the book of Numbers. The first parasha rightly focuses on…numbers. God instructs Moses to take a census of the people. The men of military age 20 years and older are counted. The totals for each tribe and a grand total are given. The Levites are counted in their own census, and the first-born male of every Israelite is counted as well. God also tells Moses and Aaron how to arrange the camp, with each tribe given a designated place surrounding the Tabernacle, and the order the tribes will march in when they move from place to place.
Clearly the theme of the parasha is about order, but it is also about making sure that every person counts. Every individual is important in God’s eyes and has a special role and mission in this life no one else can fill. This message, then, should remind us this week to value ourselves as well as value others around us.