Every person in our holy nation possesses a unique individuality that has two parts.

We find the Jews being compared to the stars often throughout the Torah, such as when Hashem told Avraham: “For I will bless you and will increase your seed like the stars of the Heaven.”

Thus, we can apply the following insight about the Heavenly stars to the Chosen Nation:

Every day, we praise Hashem as part of our morning prayers (Tehillim 147:4), with the words: “Moneh mispar lakochavim, l’chulam sheimos yikrah – He gives a number to each star, to each He calls a name.” What is the meaning of Hashem’s giving both a number and a name to each star?

Each individual amongst the Jewish nation is important as one person who is part of a large number of people. The second aspect of each individual’s importance is that he has his own unique character and qualities. What specifically is the difference between these two aspects of importance? The answer is that these two aspects stand out at different times. An individual as part of the multitude stands out most when he is missing. Just as one piece that is missing from a finished puzzle makes the entire puzzle noticeably different, so too does the individual who is missing from a group.

The opposite is true when it comes to the other aspect we mentioned. A person’s uniqueness of character stands out most when he is present. For example, an accomplished public speaker will be noticed most while he is speaking. It follows that a human being cannot fully appreciate both these aspects at the same time, since one of them stands out most while it’s missing, and the other stands out most while it’s present!

This is what the pasuk is possibly telling us. Hashem gives a number to each star, which represents the star’s place among the many other stars. He also gives a name to each star, which is emblematic of the star’s unique qualities. The greatness of Hashem that we see here is that He is “Moneh mispar lakochavim — [counting] a counting of the stars”, recognizing one’s importance as an individual among the multitude. At the same time, “He gives a name to each star,” recognizing the inherent unique qualities of each one. He sees both these aspects at the same time—not for just one star but for every single one of the myriad stars!

If this is true concerning stars, then surely Hashem looks at the chosen nation in this same manner. Hashem looks at the importance of each Jew among the other members of Klal Yisrael, while at the same time looking at the unique qualities that each of us possesses!

(Adapted from the book “Passion for Perfection”, by Rabbi Usher Smith)

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