Divrei Hayamim I – Twenty-Seven: Jewish Engagement

We’re talking about military preparedness today, and the size of the fighting forces of the various tribes, as well as getting an accounting of their leadership. However, despite this, not everyone is counted. “Now David did not take their count from twenty years old and below because the Lord had promised to multiply Israel like the stars of the heavens (Chronicles I 27:23).” While on the surface it seems like the reason for not counting the children was so as to demonstrate confidence in God’s promise about multiplying the people, I can’t help but look at this through the lens of an educator. In the Jewish community in particular, we have an obsession with obsessing over the youth, the next generation. We freak out constantly, despairing over lack of engagement, or disparities from the past, or any number of both real and imagined problems. But maybe the reason we can’t count our youth yet is because they’re still being formed themselves. It’s up to us to be proactive in creating a positive relationship between them and the Jewish community so that when they’re older and autonomous, they will want to be counted, and will opt in themselves. Only time will ultimately tell how fruitful our efforts are, but I’m confident that Judaism and the Jewish community have enough to offer that we will have plenty to count in the next generation.

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