When Every Vote Really Counts

Friday, 26 February, 2016 - 1:00 pm

We live in a democracy. We live in a blessed democracy that values freedom and morality.

Part of living in a democracy is the notion of one person, one vote. Through representative government our individual voices are heard.

But, what if the overwhelming majority votes for values that are anathema to mine? What if I vote but everyone else votes otherwise? Do I still count?

(This questions holds true for pure democracies, republics and other forms of representative government).

We may, at times, feel that although we live in a democracy, it does not represent my personal values, goals or lifestyle. To take this to an extreme, such was certainly the feeling of many Jews in Europe during the Holocaust. Hitler was, after all, democratically elected.

So, if I am not in lockstep with the majority, am I indeed truly represented?


In this week’s parsha Ki Tisa G-d instructs the census to the Jewish people. Each person must be counted. 

Obviously, G-d knows just how many we number. But, He insists on counting us.

Some argue that the counting was necessary for us, not G-d. We needed it to know our strength in numbers.

True indeed. But I might argue that G-d, too, is interested in knowing our numbers.  The Midrash explains that Hashem continuously counts the Jewish people to underscore His tremendous love for us. Just as a businessman may continually count his diamonds, a mother may count her children – so does G-d cherish, and therefore count, the Jewish people.

Let’s take that a step further.  G-d loves – and therefore counts – the Jewish people because each one is critical to His mission. Each and every person is irreplaceable.  If one person is missing, the entire plan fails.


Six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust.  Today, as Holocaust survivors age, they are becoming more rare.  But, each one is a living testament to the value of one single person.

On Sunday night, Marthe Cohn, a survivor and Jewish spy who went behind enemy lines into Nazi Germany on behalf of the French, will give a talk in Boise.  Her contribution to ending the war is priceless.

And, her story and life after the war remind us that each of the six million who perished were a universe unto themselves.

We didn’t lose six million Jews. We lost one Jew six million times.


Unlike democracy, where your vote may count but doesn’t carry the day, in G-d’s eyes each one of us really counts.

Let’s make it count. Every day. Every place. Every moment.

Because there’s only one of each of us. And the entire world depends on it.

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