Why does Hashem count and name the stars in Heaven? This is mentioned in the first Rashi on Shemot, see below. I would like an explanation on this... Quote from Rashi: And these are the names of the sons of Israel: Although [God] counted them in their lifetime by their names (Gen. 46:8-27), He counted them again after their death, to let us know how precious they are [to Him], because they were likened to the stars, which He takes out [From beyond the horizon] and brings in by number and by name, as it is said: who takes out their host by number; all of them He calls by name (Isa. 40:26).

  • In my understanding, stars' (and everything else's) names come first, then come the physical bodies. We hold that the Torah preceded the world, and the names should be found in the Torah in some way. So Hashem does not "name" stars, stars are created according to their names.
    – Al Berko
    Jan 1 '18 at 0:48
  • "Why does Hashem" type of questions are impossible to answer. I think we better find a subjective purpose, some benefit for us, for the humankind. As the whole creation serves us Jews to serve Hashem, there should be a purpose for us, some practical influence to our lives.
    – Al Berko
    Jan 1 '18 at 0:52
  • "Hashem counts" should be a figure of speech, as Hashem is not physical and it does not take time for him to count one by one. He just "knows" constantly.
    – Al Berko
    Jan 1 '18 at 0:57
  • If the answer satisfactory? Is there some additional information you would like?
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 4 '18 at 7:20

Radak explains in his commentary to Isaiah (40:26) and in his commentary to Psalms (157:4), that although there are a very many stars (he correctly suggests that the number of stars is much greater than those visible to the naked eye), God acted deliberately in creating them, and had a specific reason to create each one. This reason is the "name" of each star that God is always conscious of. He suggests that the point of the stars is astrological, while other Jewish thinkers may not have accepted the legitimacy of astrology. Regardless, his basic answer; that the names refer to God's purpose for them and reason to create them, need not be challenged.

The metaphor in Rashi seems to be that just as God acts with deliberation and care with the cosmos; creating each star for a purpose and moving it to specific places in the universe; not allowing it to wander randomly, so too does God care about each of the Jewish people.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .