The book that covers the history and adventures of the Tribe of Israel during the forty years in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land.
We can read this as history, but we can also learn from the lessons of our ancestors. These lessons of what they did right and what they did wrong can help us live better lives today.
The Book begins and ends with a census. Why does God command a census? In my previous message, referring to Leviticus, I wrote about the responsibility of the members of the Tribe to building the Tabernacle. Each individual contributed voluntarily. Upon reading that, you could imagine that the Tribe could do what it needed to do without you and your unique contribution. You can sit on the sideline. From the discussion in Leviticus, you might not see that every individual is important on his or her own.
The census contradicts this impression. EVERY PERSON COUNTS. You are unique, different from every other, with a unique function and unique contribution to make. The count indicated how each individual was part of a family unit, part of a larger clan, and a crucial building block in the larger whole. This count sends a message to us today at Congregation B'nai Israel: Every person has something to contribute.