Bnei Yisroel were counted from age twenty and over, while Bnei Levi were counted from age one month and upward. The Midrash tells us in this week's parsha that Moshe asked Hashem, “How can I enter their tents to determine the number of babies in each family?”
Hashem responded, “You do your share, and I will do Mine.” Moshe stood at the doorway of each tent and the Shechinah preceded him. A Bas Kol emanated from each tent declaring the number of babies inside. This is the meaning of the words in the pasuk: ״.על פי ה׳״
HoRav Moshe Swift zt”l explains that in order for Moshe to count Bnei Yisroel outside the house, the Shechinah must first have entered the house. If Jewish children are to be included as the ones who carry the yoke of Torah on their shoulders, then the Shechinah must precede each child’s birth, and the voice of Hashem must be heard from within the home. The Shechinah must totally permeate the atmosphere of a child’s upbringing. This depends on the parents’ own relationship with Hashem, evidenced in a home in which תפילה ,לימוד התורה and שמירת המצות are integral components of the family’s lifestyle.
The establishment of such a home is the only guarantee that the Shechinah will dwell within it and that children will continue to be counted as proud members of Klal Yisroel. Let’s all remember this point and commit to celebrating the upcoming Yom Tov of Shavuos, זמן מתן תורתנו, in a way that truly conveys the importance we place on this Yom Tov, so that our children fully appreciate its significance.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School