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Parshas Naso

Thursday, 24 May, 2018 - 11:23 am

A mother went to her son one Shabbos morning, to get him out of bed and get ready for Shul.

He replied "I'm not goin'!"

His mother said "Yes you are goin', so get out of that bed."

He replied "Give me ONE good reason why I should go."

She replied, "I'll give you THREE good reasons...

1. I'm your mother, and I say you're goin'.

2. You're 40 years old, so old enough to know better.

3. You're the Rabbi, so you need to be there.

This week's Torah portion, Nasso, describes the offerings that the twelve tribal leaders of Israel brought beginning on the day the Tabernacle was consecrated. On each tribe's appointed day, its leader brought a gift. The Torah, normally sparing in its use of words, enumerates every detail of each tribe's offering, even though all the gifts were exactly the same.

The Torah is not a history book, recording events that occurred long ago. Its teachings are relevant to each person in every generation. So what can we learn from the repetition of the exact same offerings twelve times?

The tribes correspond to twelve different paths by which a Jew can become closer to G-d. Each followed a unique path in its service of G-d. Each leader dedicated the offerings according to his own manner of spiritual service. Despite the spiritual uniqueness of each offering, they were considered to be communal offerings brought, not on behalf of the individual, but on behalf of all the Jewish people.

This juxtaposition – the uniqueness of the individual and the equality of the collective whole - mirrors how the tribal leaders' spiritual intentions were unique, yet the actual physical offerings were the same. Unique and common, happening at the same moment.

This is also true of the Jewish people; each Jew is unique and yet all Jews are equal.

There are certain qualities which all Jews share equally. There are other qualities within each Jew which are uniquely personal. However, even the uniquely personal qualities can lead to unity among the Jewish people.

How so? When we realize that we all need each other, and that only by binding ourselves with our fellow Jew can we be complete.

The dedication gifts from the tribal leaders, mentioned above, were offered in a similar manner. Each leader brought his tribe's gift in a unique way on a separate day. However, each of these offerings was imbued with, and accompanied by, the feeling that this offering was also a communal offering-united with all the other leaders and tribes.

Have a good Shabbos!


Rabbi Shraga Sherman 

Excerpted from "The Wellsprings of Chassidus", 

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