Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states “פקד את בני לוי… כל זכר מבן חדש ומעלה, count the Bnei Levi… every male from 30 days and up.” Rashi explains once 30 days pass, their infants are out of the category of a miscarriage, and they are counted to be called “that who guards the holy watch.” Rebi Yehuda b’Rebi Shalom says the tribe of Levi was accustomed to be counted inside their mothers’ wombs, as it states “אשר ילדה אותה ללוי במצרים, that she was born to her in Mitzrayim.” The passuk states that there were 70 people in Yaakov’s family who descended to Mitzrayim including Yosef and his sons. However, you only find 69, not 70. Yocheved was born when they entered Mitzrayim, and she is counted as the 70th person, who completed the count. The Sifsei Chachamim points out, here Yocheved was counted even before 30 days, while she was inside her mother’s stomach. The reason is because her months were complete and it was clear that she would live. Therefore, she was counted inside her mother’s womb.

We see that the entire tribe of Levi, both the males and females are fitting to be counted at 30 days old or even right away. Whereas the rest of Bnei Yisrael were counted מבן עשרים שנה ומעלה, from 20 years and up. Why is the age for the counting of Levi’s tribe different than the age for counting all of Bnei Yisrael?

Avi Mori shlita answered b’shem HaRav Moshe Feinstien zatzal, in truth any minor is included in accepting the Torah that he will be obligated to fulfill when he will become an adult. Therefore, it is fitting to count him amongst all of Yisrael who are adults. However, we don’t know whether he will be raised and trained to follow the way of Hashem as he is meant to. Maybe his parents will be busy with other things or he won’t become trained properly. For this reason, he is not fitting to be counted before the age of 20. At that point he is an adult and we are able to see clearly that he guards the Torah and mitzvos. Whereas the tribe of Levi is different. They are designated to guard the holy watch, to teach Bnei Yisrael, and to do avodah in the Bais HaMikdash. It is like a רוב, a majority and a חזקה, a probable assumption that they will naturally grow into servants of Hashem the way they are meant. Therefore, they are fitting to be counted immediately when they are born; they are destined to do what’s right.

Says Rav Moshe, this too, is true with any parents who are Bnei Torah and are careful to heed to the word of Hashem with their entire heart and soul that their complete desire is for their children to guard the Torah and mitzvos which is Life. It is fitting to say about them immediately when they are born that the infants will be guardians to serve Hashem the way they are meant to. After circumcision we bless “כן יכנס לתורה, so he shall enter to the Torah” by way of a story, as a matter of fact. We are guaranteed that this will indeed be the case.

Children copy parents and understand a lot more than we think. My 5-year-old daughter sits on my lap and sings zemiros on Shabbos, and she calls my 1 ½ year-old daughter, “Chana Yehudis, come sing.” Chana Yehudis comes on my lap and makes noise as though she is singing. After making kiddush and hamotzi she makes noise as though answering amen. If we work on training our children when they are young, even without understanding, it will leave an everlasting impression when they are more mature. Even showering and getting dressed for Shabbos in special clothes with special food is noticed and internalized, Shabbos is a special day.

May we follow Hashem’s mitzvos completely, and may this help us train our children properly.

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