Are you fulfilled with what you are doing?
Blog Bamidbar 5 Sivan 5776
In this past Torah portion, Bamidbar (in the wilderness) our Creator orders Moshe and Aaron to take a census in order that the people of Israel could be counted. Let me ask you a question — are you being counted? What does it mean to be counted? Each of us is made in a marvelous way; we are each unique. The greatest mistake we can make is to compare ourselves with others. In this book, Bamidbar, jealousy, strife and division arise because people were not satisfied with the role that the Creator selected for them. The men were divided in 12 tribes with the addition of the double tribes from the sons of Joseph. They were counted to be in the army to defend Israel while the tribe of Levi was counted for the army who would serve in the Tent of Meeting. Each of the Levites had a function with his own responsibility. When anyone tried to take someone else’s function, there was a heavy price to pay. We saw this in the case of Uzzah who died when he reached out to stop the ark from falling as they were bringing it to Jerusalem. King David knew that only the Levites were called for this special role. We each have been given a special function by our Creator. We sometimes spend a lifetime searching for it. He wants us to be fulfilled in whatever we do. When we are not fulfilled, it is because we are in the wrong place doing the wrong things. Instead of being a help, we become a hindrance. It doesn’t mean that we are not worthy or good for anything; we simply need to find our place. When you have the desire to serve and to give of yourself, you would be surprised how quickly you find your place. However when you try to do what you are not called to do, you become a problem to yourself and to others.
In Torah philosophy, the welfare of the community comes before that of the individual and is dependent upon the individual. In our western society the direction has been changed to where the welfare of the individual is more important than the community. The community is there to serve the individual. The philosophy of the Torah doesn’t take away the importance of the individual; in fact each person derived his value and importance from knowing his tribe, his position and his function within the community. Practically speaking, when we speak about “doing good” within the community, it refers to helping the people who have the most need such as the widow, the orphan and the foreigner. At the time of the Torah, men were in charge while women were secondary. Women did not have careers or education; their role was to bear children and to take care of the family. If her husband died, she would need the protection of the community. The orphan without parents was helpless and the foreigner without land or property was both vulnerable and unprotected. These ideas can be projected to today. The Torah gives humane principles to the community in order to help the helpless. Once we belong to something we have a place to grow and thrive. Being in community gives us the ability to be counted and to grow spiritually. We depend upon each other. It is not about position but how we are serving. Are you fulfilled in what you are doing? If not, perhaps it is time for some self-examination.