The folks at Jewess are inaugurating a new series they're calling "Parsha Posts" -- divrei Torah from women's perspectives. The first one was published today; I'm honored to have been asked to write that first d'var, on parashat Bamidbar.
[T]he first thing God says to Moses in this book of Torah is, "take a census."
More specifically, the instruction is to take a census of the community by clan, listing the names of every man over twenty who is able to bear arms. Taking a census was generally associated with conscription for war, or at least with military readiness. The census which gives this book of Torah its English name, "Numbers," is concerned only with the fledgling community's ability to fight. It appears that only men who can carry weapons "count."
How can these verses have resonance for us as women?
My answer to that question can be found here: Bamidmar: Ways of counting. (And I'd love to hear your answers, too -- feel free to post them as comments here, or over at Jewess.) Shabbat shalom!