In this week’s parsha we explore the value of investing in others.
Two brothers–one rich and childless, the other poor but a parent of many–once struck a deal: the wealthy man, who desperately wanted a child, would pay a million dollars in exchange for one of his brother’s children.
A day before the exchange was to take place, the poor brother suddenly canceled the agreement.
“But why – what changed?” asked the rich brother.
“Until now, I always thought I had ten children,” began the poor man, “but I’ve suddenly come to the realization, that in truth, I only have one–only one Moshe, one Yosef, one Miriam. How can I give away my Miriam…? I don’t have another!”
We dedicate our lives to our children, and naturally, each one is precious and irreplaceable. Similarly, when we invest in anything in life, we feel a special connection to it. A businessman may dub a particular project his “baby,” because he has devoted his time and effort to developing it.
In this week’s Torah portion, G-d counts the Jewish people–his “baby.” Though He counts us by number–which could make an individual feel that he is simply one of many–in truth, every human being has a special connection to G-d, and is significant in his own right.
Still, we all experience moments in our lives when we wonder, “does G-d really care about what I do?” The answer is, absolutely. Although we are enumerated among others, G-d loves each of us ardently–like an only child–and no individual is replaceable.
So why don’t we necessarily feel a corresponding love?
They say a father loves his child more than a child loves his father, because the father invests in the child–he gives all he has for the sake of the child’s development and ultimate wellbeing. So granted, in addition to the innate love of a parent, a father’s feelings for his child is even stronger, due to the constant nurturing. Likewise, it is this investment from G-d which makes His love for us so great.
Let’s mirror His love; let’s make our relationship with G-d even more meaningful by investing effort.