How much can one person accomplish?  Hollywood is filled with movies of one individual who saves the world through pure strength of will and heroics.  This hero may have a supporting character or two (often primarily for comedic effect or to provide romantic flare), but quite often it is basically one hero who overcomes the world all by themselves. 

In this week’s Torah portion, Behukosai, the Torah brings up adversity that may face the Jewish people and relates how the righteous will be able to triumph over it if we follow in G-d’s ways:

Five of you shall give chase to a hundred [enemies], and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.

Vayikra 26:8

It’s interesting which numbers the Torah uses here.  5 chasing 100 is a ratio of 1 to 20.  Meanwhile, 10 chasing 1,000 is a ratio of 1 to 100.  This leads to a question:

Why are there two different ratios listed?  If we can each chase off 100 enemies, you don’t have to tell us that we could chase off 20, because it’s already obvious. 

Rashi explains that while a small number of people following a righteous path can do great things, a larger number of people being righteous can have an exponentially greater impact.  Thus, if only 5 Jews are good, they will overcome 20 times their number, but if 10 Jews are good, they will be able to overcome 100 times their number. 

It is not the power of the individual that makes us strong, but the power of a united group.  When we gather together, in prayer, in learning, in doing mitzvos: we create a greater holiness than any of us could on our own.  We inspire each other towards greater heights and create a whole community of good. 

Despite the evil in the world, there are others who want to do good. 

Don’t let them be alone. 

Don’t remain alone yourself. 

Join together in one community and create more positive change in the world than even the greatest hero could accomplish.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi A and the JET Team