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    The middle letter – Sh’mini

    Every now and then a letter of the Torah is written larger or smaller than usual. In today’s sidra we have an unusually large vav in the word gachon (Lev. 11:42) because this is the middle letter of the whole Torah.

    According to tradition there are 600,805 letters in the Chumash, more or less the same number of Israelite males who left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. In other words, there is a letter in the Torah which corresponds to every Israelite.

    No wonder we are told that the Torah is “the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob”; there is a unique place in it for every member of that congregation.

    Can anyone precisely identify their own letter? In one sense, no. But poetically, each of us may well be the middle letter that links the beginning of the Torah to the end.

    This not only means that there is something radically wrong if anyone feels unwanted, unappreciated and alienated. It also suggests that you never know how valuable a person may be in the eyes of God.

    You might think the other person is too old (or too young), too ignorant, too irreligious, too ordinary. God may think otherwise. The person you dismiss may be the lamed-vavnik upon whose merit the whole of Judaism may depend.

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