Parshas Bamidbar- Sinners and their Progression

Written by Shai Rose, 26/5/2019

Sefer Bamidbar as a whole discusses the laws and the history of the Mishkan during the years the Jewish people spent in the Midbar. The Ramban notes striking parallels between the Mishkan, as seen through the light of these laws, and the revelation at Har Sinai. These comparisons suggest that the Mishkan-- and later the Beis Hamikdash-- was to serve as a permanent substitute for the heavenly presence that rested on Klal Yisrael at Har Sinai. By making the Mishkan central to the nation, not only geographically but conceptually, the people would keep "Har Sinai" among themselves always. Just as they surrounded the mountain, longing for closeness to God, they would encamp around the Mishkan symbolizing that their very existence was predicted on their closeness to the Torah.

Now that I have briefly summarized Sefer Bamidbar, I would like to now shift our attention towards Parshas Bamidbar. The parsha starts off by God commanding Moshe Rebbeinu to take a census of Bnei Yisrael. The million dollar question here is, why? Why does God need Moshe to count Bnei Yisrael? To answer this question I would like to bring a couple different examples from around the Torah where God decides to count the nation. 
The first example I would like to briefly discuss is the Sin of the Golden Calf in Parshas Ki Sisa. As we all know, Bnei Yisrael miscounted when Moshe was coming down from atop Har Sinai, so they built a Golden Calf. After the main sinners of this sin were killed, Hashem counted us to see how many we were. 
The next example I would like to bring, is the counting in this weeks parsha when God counted us after the plague of Egypt. Just like during the time of the Golden Calf, God counted us to see how many we were, so he could rest his Shechina on us. 
Now, I would like to jump ahead to my final example, which could be found in Parshas Pinchas. We find the story of Ba'alam . Ba'alam Harasha sent Moav to seduce Bnei Yisrael. They had a huge party and they made it a big deal. Zimri along with Kazbi, the daughter of a leader of Median, were both murdered along with 24,000 other sinners. Just like the first two examples, God counted the Jewish people to see who was left. 
Now that we have mentioned a few examples of when Hakadosh Baruch Hu counted Bnei Yisrael, what's the main similarity they all have? All these sins were done after a sin and/or after a huge plague. So now we just added to our original question. Not only are we curious as to why God made a counting to begin with, but why He chose sad, rebellious times to do the countings. If you take a look at the very first Rashi of the parsha, he says that God counted us because he loves us so much, despite the sins we commit. 
Life's a journey. There are ups and there are downs. We sin. It's part of life. The question we all have to ask ourselves after we sin is how are we going to respond and react to sinning. Are we going to weep and stay down because we think God wants nothing to do with us cause of our sins? Or are we going to get right back up and do our absolute best to prevent the sins from happening again? God expects us to sin. It's life. But He also expects us to try and get closer to Him by limiting the sins and doing our best to lead lives full of Torah, mitzvos, and kedusha.    

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