The downside to leadership by Gavriel Epstein


A census is taken in Parashat BeMidbar enumerating the size of Bnei Yisrael and their individual Shevatim.  Sheivet Leivi, counted separately from all other Shevatim, is peculiar due to who is included in the count: for Sheivet Leivi, males one month old and above are counted (BeMidbar 3:15), in contrast to the other tribes where males twenty years old and above were counted (BeMidbar 1:3). Despite this, the number of people counted in Sheivet Leivi is considerably lower than all other tribes.  Ramban (3:14 s.v. VaYedabeir Hashem El Moshe BeMidbar Sinai) explains that this supports Chazal’s assertion that, “Leivi Lo Hayu BeShibbud Melechet Metzrayim VaAvodat Parech,” “Leivi did not participate in the labor or backbreaking work in Egypt” and thus did not inherit the blessing of, “Kein Yirbeh VeChein Yifrotz,” “So they will multiply and so they will strengthen” (Shemot 1:12), which directly corresponded to the degree of labor.  This teaches us a very important lesson about raising children—both as a blessing and as a responsibility.  Sheivet Leivi, which is generally viewed as the role models for Bnei Yisrael, might find the dual role of leader and parent overburdening.  An excellent example of the detrimental consequences of this adversity is Moshe’s descendants, some of whom would eventually worship Avodah Zarah in Sefer Shofetim.  Before undertaking the challenge of raising children, especially in our times, one must first be aware of the tremendous responsibility and consequences that such a feat entails.

The Source of Blessing by Rabbi Duvie Nachbar

Why Count? by Eitan Ungar