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B"H

Naso-Grant Us Our Portion in the Torah
By: Rabbi Yonassan Biggs


  Shalom and Bracha!

  This Shabbat we read the Birkat Cohanim: “May Hashem bless you and guard you. May Hashem illuminate you with His presence and show you grace. May Hashem lift up his countenance to you and grant you Peace.” May Hashem’s blessings, protection and peace fill the land of Israel and the entire world.

  The portion continues “and they shall place My name upon the children of Israel and I will bless them.” Rashi offers two meanings of the words “and I will bless them”: I will fulfill the blessing of the Cohanim and I will bless the Cohanim. Each has a deep lesson. Hashem says I will fulfill the blessing of the Cohanim, and so don’t be afraid if you feel inadequate to give a blessing, because when you give a blessing under My direction it is My blessing. Don’t be judgemenatal either. I will bless all of the recipients. The Jewish people are called a nation of Cohanim. Each of us has the power to illuminate the world with the light of Torah not because of our skills and merits but because we are spreading His light. When we do spread Hashem’s light and Torah and blessings He will surely respond by bringing blessings into our lives. Furthermore, we will succeed with those who we think we can’t reach.

  This Shabbat we read the portion of Naso. This is also Shabbat after Shavuot, and the teachings in this week’s portion have lessons that relate to the entire Torah that was given on Shavuot.

  One of the topics discussed in this week’s portion is the consecration of the Mishkan, the Temple that was built in the desert. When the Mishkan was completed, the Princes of each of the Tribes brought special offerings, one each day. They each brought a silver bowl and plate filled with flour and oil, a golden spoon filled with incense, a bull, a ram, a sheep, and a goat. As a Peace Offering, they brought two oxen, five rams, five male goats and five yearling sheep. Although each of the Princes brought his offering on a different day, they all brought exactly the same weight vessels and the same number of animals.

  The Midrash teaches that the weight of the vessels and the number of animals had a special significance, and they corresponded to various aspects of Jewish history. As per example, the golden spoon weighed ten Shekels, which corresponded to the Ten Commandments, and the silver bowl weighed seventy Shekels, which corresponded to the seventy gentile nations of the world.

  More interestingly, each leader’s offering corresponded to different things: the Prince of the tribe of Benyamin brought three types of burnt offerings corresponding to the three Temples which were built in his territory in the Land of Israel, whereas the Prince of the tribe of Dan brought the same offerings corresponding to the three commandments the Angel gave to the mother of Shimshon (Samson) who descended from Dan, and the Prince of Naftali brought the same sacrifices corresponding to Avraham’s three sacrifices when Hashem promised him the land of Israel. Similarly, the golden spoons that were offered had a weight of exactly ten Shekalim. When the prince of Yehudah (the tribe of kings) brought his spoon, it corresponded to the ten generations between Yehudah and the first king from his tribe, King David. When the prince of Yissachar (the tribe of scholars) brought his spoon, it corresponded to the Ten Commandments. When the prince of Binyamin brought the spoon it corresponded to the ten sons of Binyamin. When the prince of Zevulun brought his spoon, it corresponded to the ten words with which Yaakov blessed his tribe. In this vein, the Midrash explains each of the vessels and each of the offerings that each Prince brought.

  This gives us a beautiful insight into all of the Mitzvot that were given at Mount Sinai. Although we all perform the same acts and say the same prayers, we don’t lose our individuality. Each of us is unique in the intent that we infuse into our prayers and our deeds. Thereby, we are united in deed and yet unique in spirit. This is also the meaning of the conclusion of the Amidah (standing prayer) “Grant us our portion in your Torah.” We are beseeching Hashem to allow us to appreciate how each Mitzvah is our own portion, the expression of our souls.

  The Midrash goes further and teaches that Hashem accredits each of the tribes as though they had offered on the first day and on the last day. The quality of the first day is well understood. In every Mitzvah one should seek to be an initiator. The quality of the last day is that it included the culmination of all of the tribe’s individual qualities. This teaches us that we complete each other, and by serving Hashem with our unique qualities in unison and unity with others we become part of a greater entity and Hashem credits us with the cumulative result.

  The prophet Yechezkiel teaches that at the consecration of the Third Temple, special offerings will be brought just as in the days of Moshe. May we offer them very speedily with the coming of Moshiach.

  Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in merit of Yitzchak Mordechai Ben Chaya and his family

A project of Chabad of Great Neck

400 East Shore Rd.

Great Neck NY 11024

516 4874554       fax 516 4874807


 
   
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