[Ed. Note] Out of the respect and recognition of the impact made by longtime BJL friend and contributor, Reb Shaya Gross, z’l, we will maintain a living memoriam to Shaya through the sweet words and thoughtful insights of  his Divrei Torah. BJL readers will remember his weekly column on the Parsha and on various Torah ideas and concepts. These meaningful words will help us remember this special young man who will be sorely missed and for those who did not merit to know him, this will be the most appropriate way for them to become familiar with who he was.

Parshas Bamidbar begins with the Torah enumerating the number of men in Shevet (Tribe) Binyamin right next to the amount of men in Shevet Dan. As with everything in the Torah, this is significant, and has a profound lesson for all of us.

Dan only had one child, a son named Chushim, who was hard of hearing. Binyamin had ten healthy sons. An observer at the time might have said or thought to himself that not much will come of Dan's Shevet. They will surely be very few, and certainly in comparison to Shevet Binyamin.

The Torah tells us that it was just the contrary; through Binyamin's ten sons, Binyamin's descendants numbered 35,400 men, while Dan's Shevet had almost double, a staggering 62,700! The lesson is clear; never give up on any child [and teenager or adult for that matter], as big things start small! 

The above I heard in the name of the Chofetz Chaim.

‘Big things start small’ is an idea that can be applied not only in the physical world, but in the spiritual world as well. When one starts to improve oneself spiritually, even in small ways, if one is persistent and steady, it can morph into big changes.

Being that Rosh Chodesh is just a few days away, this is the opportune time to get off to a fresh start in working to improve ourselves, and into being better and more special people.

May we all work slowly but surely, on improving our relationship to Hashem and in keeping the Mitzvos, and may those small changes transform into large improvements; as we head toward the Yom Tov of Shavuos where we will relive the special covenant between us and Hashem.  

{Editor’s note: As I was reviewing this week's dvar Torah, I was thinking how Shaya’s words are so true even in the contemporary times that we are living in. As the world slowly begins to ease its restrictions due to Covid19, in some cities they are permitting minyanim to begin once again, albeit outside. I was thinking that perhaps this is the first step that Hashem wants to see how we react to this. Are we going to embrace the minyanim with a zeal and love and be so happy and grateful that we can now daven with a minyan albeit under certain conditions? Or are we going to look at it as a bother to fit in our schedules into the minyanim times as opposed to fitting our davening into our schedule like some of us may have been doing for the last number of weeks and months?

I was thinking that perhaps this is part of what Hashem is trying to teach us. As hard as it may be to revamp and reorganize our schedules to daven with our minyan, Hashem is coaxing us to take small steps to appreciate what it means to daven to Him with a minyan and that as we continue to take those small steps, we will continue to grow closer to Hashem and merit to go back to our shuls and have a much stronger connection to Hashem.

May we all merit to continue to grow in our serving Hashem as we take one step at a time as the saying goes “Slow and steady wins the race.”