“When a man departs from this world, neither silver nor gold, nor precious stones nor pearls escort him, but only Torah study and good deeds…” . “…Mine is the silver and Mine is the gold, says Hashem, Master of Legions.” Avos 6:9
Like someone who counts and recounts their most valuable financial holdings, the Almighty counted and then recounted us again in the Torah, as Rashi reveals to us: that because of G-d’s love for our nation, He counted us frequently. The Ramban says: it was also a great honor for each person to give their name as an individual to Moshe and Aharon. The Sforno adds: that everyone’s name was Divinely inspired to indicate each person’s personal virtues. Let us attempt to derive from the census taken three times in the midbar of the shevatim, together with the names of their princes and the position of each shevet in relationship to each other, a paradigm of our Nation as the Creator’s most valued “asset”.
Taking the liberty to use investment parlance in parallel to our Nation will make more visceral our comprehending the uniqueness of our role in this life. It is generally recognized that in order to maximize one’s investment returns, a preferred strategy is to diversify one’s assets. This is achieved by choosing a wide variety of stocks and bonds from various economic and geographical sectors. Many financial institutions have created “fund families” that do this for the investor by buying stocks, bonds and other assets that correspond to the various goals of the investor to increase his holdings, maximize future potential and minimize risk. An individual portfolio is the sum total of his or her financial investments.
Just as proper financial investing needs structure and diversity, so we clearly find with the Torah’s delineation of each the various Shevatim. Each Shevit can be seen as corresponding to a specific “fund sector” with all of the Shevatim together making up the entire gamut of a potentially perfect supernal “investment portfolio” for the Creator. The princes of each Shevit/fund therefore can be seen as corresponding to the “fund managers”, while the members of each Shevit corresponding to the individual “shares of stock” allocated to each of the funds which, B’H, split many times over the ensuing centuries. The marching positions of each Sheivet could be seen as parallel to the various “economic sectors” in which each fund is invested and the resting position corresponding to the “geographical market” in which the fund is located.
And now let us ask how is the value of these “funds” measured? – It is through the “production” of mitzvoth and ma’asim tovim that the value of the “stock” increases and the overall Heavenly “portfolio” grows.
Unfortunately at various junctures in the historical road map for “investment strategy” parts of our nation’s performance was not always sterling causing our “assets” being downgraded. This has in turn caused a weakening in some of our investment “sectors” due to our inability to fulfill certain mitzvoth while in galus. However, fortunately the “C.E.O” of the entire creation has never “sold us short” and even as we function with a less than ideal portfolio – ie. without our Beis Hamikdash with its many precious mitzvoth – causing our “financial statements” to be less than ideal, we have remained the Creator’s chosen possession and with His help there is always the opportunity for us to make good our loses and thereby regain our previous spiritual “market position and value”.
Armed with these “investment” strategies, we can use our distinctive capabilities to maximize our spiritual assets and thus enhance our “global position” with the goal of restoring the crown of Torah soon to its proper position.
True, as the pesukim quoted above state: the silver nor gold and other treasures of this world do not accompany us to the next, but the Creator’s most precious treasure – our mitzvoth performed with ahavas Hashem, together with His gold which we acquire through adhering to the mitzvoth of restraint demonstrating our yerias Hashem do in fact accompany us.
May we all merit to “invest” all our energy and capabilities profitably at each stage of our journey through life.