This week we read Parshas Bamidbar, the first Parsha in the book of Bamidbar – the Book of Numbers. The Book of Numbers is always read on the Shabbos before the holiday of Shavuous. Why is it always read on this weekend?
The Sages tell us that this is read now to give a break between the terrible curses mentioned in last weeks Parsha, Bechukosai, and the holiday of Shavuous. Rav Moshe Feinstien adds that aside from avoiding anything negative from a previous parsha, there is a special connection between the reading of the Parsha of Bamidbar, and the holiday of Shavuos. The Parsha describes to us the counting of the Jewish people. When Moses is told to count them, the word used is Seuh – Count. The literal translation of Seuh, is not to count, but to lift up. This is because the act of counting lifts up the person who is being counted. It shows that each person has importance and is special to us. This is of utmost importance for us to realize before Shavuous. On the day that we celebrate receiving the Torah, a person may mistakenly think, “what’s the difference whether I personally accept the Torah”? Does it really make a difference what I do or think? The Torah comes to say – that is a mistake. Seuh !! – Lift yourself up!! Every Jew counts the same! No Jew counts more than you! With that attitude we can hopefully approach the Holiday of Shavuos with a new feeling of value and esteem, and make our personal acceptance of the Torah on Shavuos a much deeper and more meaningful one.