Divrei Torah

PARSHAS NASO 5778

Parshas Naso is the longest Parsha in the Torah. At first, it might seem to be intimidating. However, the 2nd half of the parsha is basically repetition – the sacrifices offered during the dedication of the Tabernacle by the prince of each tribe. Each prince brought exactly the same sacrifice. The Torah writes the offering of the first prince, Nachshon ben Aminadav. Then, the Torah repeats 11 times the same sacrifice, only changing the name of the prince who brought the sacrifice. Why couldn’t the Torah just list the 11 princes and say that they brought the same sacrifices?

Rabbi Yissachar Frand offers an explanation. The 2nd prince, Nesanel ben Tzuar was faced with a dilemma – what to bring for a sacrifice. Imagine it in today’s terms. There are Bar-Mitzvas 12 consecutive weeks. The first week the family sponsors a luncheon. What does the 2nd family do the next week? If they serve the same thing, it is an imitation and nobody likes that. So, they do things differently. Now the 3rd family has a dilemma – how can they

outdo the first two families? What is family 12 going to do – take everybody on a cruise?

Rabbi Frand explains that this was Nesanel’s dilemma. “If I try to outdo Nachshon, the 1st prince, the next prince will face a similar dilemma and it will become a competition. Sacrifices will escalate  . . . costs will escalate . . . by day 12 it will be out of hand. So, Nesanel did a tremendous thing. He brought the same thing as Nachshon. He demonstrated the idea that everybody is equal.

If everybody brings the same sacrifice, nobody can compare and say, “Mine was better than your!”.  . . nobody can criticize one another . . . nobody can speak Lashon Hara against one another.

By not trying to outdo one another, Nesanel displayed the importance of keeping the public unified. Especially during these times, the unity of the Jewish people is essential . . . especially when the rest of the world is against us. 

All Jews are in the same boat. Nesanel taught by example how to keep the ship afloat – unify. We are not competing with one another. We might have different ideas how to reach our destination, but we all should be steering in the same direction and if that means going against the tide, so be it.