13 Cheshvan 5784, 28 October 2023
“He took him outside and said: Look now to the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them. And He said to him: So will be your offspring” (Genesis 15:5).
There are actually billions of stars, so are we to understand that there will be billions of Jews? This is especially problematic because Hashem told us that we will always be one of the smallest peoples in the world (Deuteronomy 7:7).
Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin offered an insightful way to understand this passage. Obviously, no one is able to count all the stars in the heavens. But when Hashem told Abraham to count them, he did. At least he sought to. The fact that it was an impossible enterprise didn’t faze him. And G-d then said: So shall your descendants be!
This will be the legacy of the Jewish people. When things seem impossible, they will carry on and not give up. It is this indomitable spirit that has played a huge part in the miraculous survival of the Jewish people through thousands of years of overwhelming challenges and obstacles.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
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