I spent several years in Europe, South America and Israel, and there are many cultural, linguistic and religious differences unique to each society. Baguettes in France, arepas in Venezuela, falafel in Israel, and of course the respective languages and cultures made for a fascinating experience.

But there was something else I began to notice upon visiting back home: the many, seemingly endless, police forces in the US. Every state, city, county, town and even village could have its own. There were the silver Scarsdale cars, the blue and white NYPD, the black fleet in Harrison, the large SUV's in Greenburgh, the dark blue State Police, and the list goes on and on. Each with their own color scheme and design.

While this might be the norm here, it's very uncommon - if not non existent -around the world. From the Police Nationale in France, to the Australian State Police, to the South African Police Service, law enforcement rarely descends below state level.

While this might seem like a trivial, bureaucratic difference in organizational structure, there's actually quite a meaningful lesson which I felt could be learned from this.

No, you're not reading 'Police Quarterly'; it's still the rabbi's Shabbat message. But Shabbat messages can be hiding in many unsuspecting places!

In this week's Torah portion we read of Jacob - the third and final patriarch of the Jewish people - blessing his children before he passed away in ancient Egypt. His children, the twelve tribes of the Jewish people, would forever more be defining entities by which Jews would characterize themselves. To this day it is customary to give a member of the tribe of Levi the first Aliyah at a Torah reading.

Although the Jews matured into a full fledged people numbering in the millions, the unique distinction between those twelve tribes was never forgotten. When the they later settled in the Land of Israel, instead of opting for a strictly national entity, they became the very first 'United States', with the country being comprised of twelve independent states - for the twelve tribes.

At the heart of this system is the recognition of the G‑dly spark, the Neshama, which resides in each individual. Not in every country, state or even community, but in every individual person. It is around that infinite value within each of us which the entirety of Judaism revolves. And it is for that reason that the Jewish communal structure was purposefully kept as close to the individual as possible.

We are meant to learn something from everyone and everything in life, and police cars are no different. They can remind us of the importance of the individual human being and the good that they can bring forth. It's our job to do our best to help every person find that G‑dly spark within themselves, and make it shine bright.

Rabbi Avrohom