This Shabbos we read Parshas Bamidbar. It is also the day before Shavuos, as we prepare to mark the day that G-d revealed Himself to the Jewish people and thus changed the course of the world forever. Why is it that we always read Parshas Bamidbar on the week before Shavuos?
Rav Moshe Feinstein offers a beautiful idea. The word the Torah uses to instruct us to count the Jews is Seu, which literally means to ‘lift up’. The connection between lifting someone up and counting him, is that when we count a Jew, we are lifting him up – we are saying that ‘you make a difference!” Every person counted has to feel that he is special; that without him the entire Jewish people would not be the same. This idea, Rav Moshe explains, is essential to bear in mind on Shavuos. As we each accept the Torah anew, it is essential that we feel how much of a difference we make, and how important our individual acceptance of the Torah is. This is why the all important wording of Seu – to lift up – is read on the Shabbos before Shavuos.
With this we also can understand why we read the Megillah of Rus on Shavuos. One could well understand the improbability of Rus ever being a real part of the Jewish people, certainly never to marry the leader of the generation. Yet, she not only married Boaz, who was the leader of his generation, but she ended up being the anscecter of King David, and of the Messaiah. Her lesson to us today is as clear as ever – never underestimate the power of what you do. Whether or not you appreciate the consequences of everything that what you do, you are absolutly affecting change to this world with every action of yours.
This is a most important thought for us to bear in mind as we approach the special day of Shavuos and prepare for our fresh new acceptance of the Torah.