In Parshas Pinchas the Jewish People are counted. There are various reasons
given for this. One is that since there was a plague, and judgments done
with many from the Tribe of Shimon, G-d wanted Moshe to count the Jews
again. It's compared to a shepherd whose flock was attacked by wolves. After
the attack the shepherd wants to take account of the flocks which remain.
The numbers of each tribe are given, and the tribe of Dan is the most
numerous. It's interesting to note that the entire tribe came from only one
son of Dan. His name was Chushim, and he was deaf. Being deaf in those days
basically meant a person remained very immature and uneducated. Yet, his
tribe merited to be the largest.
On the other hand the tribe of Binyomin started from ten sons, and even
Binyomin did not have a larger tribe than Dan. We see from here, the Chafetz
Chaim (Rabbi Yisrael Meir Cagan d. 1933) points out, that what G-d wants
will always succeed.
This is important for us to know, because we are the foundation upon which
every subsequent generation is being built. Who knows what could come from
us? Our thoughts, our speech, and our actions should be exemplary, because
they are the basis for the younger generation who will see, hear, observe
and emulate us. A small kindness we show can multiply exponentially in the
hands of the children and grandchildren who witnessed it, or heard the
stories. The potiential is limitless. We are potentially the mothers and
fathers of hundreds of thousands of people!
The Chofetz Chaim was once asked how it is possible that the Messiah will
come to us when there were generations which preceded us which achieved
greater levels of piety and closeness to G-d. His answer was that we may be
smaller than they were, but we are like midgets standing on the shoulders of
The student of Torah knows that he is part of a historical process. He is
participating in the fulfillment of a great destiny. The Torah is the map
which leads him to his destination. May we all merit to contribute
positively to the fulfillment of this great destiny.