** HOW MANY JEWS?**

(a) Question: There is a contradiction, where one Pasuk refers to the Jews as finite (as the sand of the sea) and one where they are infinite (uncountable).

(b) Answer #1: It depends on whether (infinite) or not (finite) the Jews perform Hash-m's will.

(c) Answer #2: It depends on whether people (infinite) or Hash-m (finite) is doing the counting.

should this be reversed? Hash-m being infinite?

jessie, far rockaway, usa

You ask whether the two comments ought not to be reversed, because Hash-m is the one who is infinite ... . Sure He is, but haven't we defined 'finite' and 'infinite' in this context as 'countable' and 'uncountable' (respectively). (As a matter of fact, the words 'finite' and 'infinite' are not mentioned in the Gemara at all, but are 'borrowed terms', used by the author). In other words, both 'finite; and 'infinite' refer to Yisrael, depending on whether they can be counted or not.

That being the case, let us take a look at the Gemara's answer, and you will see that the comments that you quoted are perfectly correct.

And here I quote from my own 'Questions and Answers': 'According to the Gemara's second answer, Yisrael will be too numerous to be counted by human beings (who are also not able to count the sand by the sea-shore), but will be countable at the Hand of Hashem').

Consequently, when people try to count Yisrael, they (Yisrael) are 'infinite', whereas when Hash-m counts them, they are finite.

Wishing you a Kesivah va'Chasimah Tovah.

Eliezer Chrysler