Bamidbar 5781 – How Much Does Hashem Care About His People

By: James Rosenberg

This week’s Parashah reveals Hashem’s indescribable love for His people.

The prophet Hoshea opens with warm words of blessing and says, “The Jewish people will be likened to the sand of the sea that cannot be measured or counted.” Hoshea digresses then and says, “And in place of not being recognized as My nation, they will be regarded as ‘the sons of Hashem.’” This passage indicates that, prior to this prophecy, they experienced serious rejection. In truth, the preceding chapter reveals that they temporarily forfeited their prominent status of Hashem’s people. Yet, one passage later we find Hashem blessing His people in an unlimited capacity conveying upon them the elevated status of “sons of Hashem.” His sudden and drastic change is amazing, from total rejection to full acceptance in an unparalleled way.

What brought about this change and

what can we learn from it?

Hoshea’s prophecy is a seemingly contradictory presentation of the relationship between the Jews and G-d. On the one hand, Hoshea compares the Jews to a Harlot who betrays her husband and cannot in good conscience claim that her husband has fathered her children. On the other hand, Hoshea concludes his prophecy with G-d’s promise that he will never abandon the Jews; and, that despite the nation’s betrayal and disloyalty, the children are still His.

In order to understand this prophecy, a little background is in order. G-d had stated to Hoshea that the Jews had sinned. Hoshea responded by suggesting to Hashem that He exchange the Jews for another nation. It was Hoshea’s responsibility as a prophet, to follow Moshe’s example and fight on behalf of the nation, not reaffirm their guilt and sins. In essence, Hoshea had spoken Lashon Harah about the Jews.

As a part of Hoshea’s training, Hashem instructed him to marry a woman who was a prostitute. He fathers three children to whom he gave unusual names reflecting his personal frustration with the Jews. He named his oldest Yizrael – The G-d Who plants. His second child, a daughter, he names Lo Ruchamah – One who does not deserve mercy. And, a third child, a boy, he named Lo Ami – Not My nation.

Hashem then told him to send away his wife and children. Hoshea begged G-d to rescind His order because he loved his family and did not want to be apart from them. G-d then says to him, and listen to Me carefully, “isn’t your wife a prostitute, and you don’t even know if your children are yours? Yet you love them! So too is my relationship with the Jews. No matter how they betray me I still love them – and, do not want to be apart from them!”

The final words of the Haftorah capture the eternity of G-d’s love for His Chosen People. “I shall marry you to Me forever…”

He therefore elevated them from their previous status of merely being his people, to the highly coveted status of His children.

Shabbat Shalom