Naso 5774

Count the heads of Bnei Gershon  - It is interesting that the Torah spends so much time on the jobs of the Leviim – if these roles would only be temporary. Why the stress on the activities of the Levi? Rav Yehuda Amital ztl. explains that there are deeper details to the physical activities of the Levi. Carrying the Keilim or the Mishkan was, and remains , a lesson to Bnei Yisrael that no matter where they travel, they can and do make an impact and can find a place for Hashraas HaShechina in the process. The impact on the Leviim came from the Jobs they did. The same is true for each of us who choose the path of the Levi (See Rambam at the end of Hilchos Shmittah).

A  man’s Kodesh shall be for him, that which he gives to the Kohein shall be for him (5:10) – The Chofetz Chaim explains that the only real tangible possessions of a person are the spiritual efforts that he makes and achieves in this world. They are also the only things he takes with him when he dies.

And the man shall bring his wife to the Kohein and she shall bring a Korban of barley (5:15) – Why does the Sotah bring a Korban specifically of Barley? The Bobover Rebbe Shlita quotes the famous comment of the Gemara that she had acted in a manner of animals and so her Korban is the food of animals. The issue is that the food of animals is one of rushing. If she sinned, the Korban references and atones for the sinful behavior of rushing to sin. If not, the reward for the accusation is a rush on the process of continuing life – birth.

And he should atone for sinning against the Soul (6:11) – Rashi explains that he should atone for holding himself back from wine. The Gemara (Taanis 11a) learns that if one undertakes major fasts he is called a sinner as a kal VaChomer from the Nazir. The Ksav Sofer explains why. When a person undergoes a spiritual experience and remains the same – unchanged by it, then it is not a spiritual experience but merely torture.  The Torah’s prescriptions are there for spiritual ascent, not for personal aggrandizement or martyrdom.

This is how you should bless Bnei Yisrael (6:23) – Rashi explains that you may not give the Beracha speedily  but rather with Kavana and a full heart. Rav Dovid Cohen Shlita, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron  explains that this is why this is the only Mitzva whose Beracha includes an emotion as a charge. The only way to offer Birkas Kohanim is with Kavana and a full heart – therefore, what needs to be part of the Mitzva has to be explained at the outset.

This is how you should bless Bnei Yisrael (6:23) – Rashi notes that the word Amur is like the word Zachor in regard to Shabbos. Rav Schachter Shlita explains that the intent of this grammatical tense is to impress an ongoing requirement. In regard to Shabbos we are told not merely to remember Shabbos on Friday afternoon but rather to have it in mind all week long. And in regard to the Birkas Kohanim, the Kohanim need to possess that positive spirit all the time. (Hence, in Chutz LaAretz when it is hard to have a “good eye” there is a limitation on the recitation of Birkas Kohanim).

On the second day, Nesanel Ben Tzuar brought the Korban (7:18) – Why does the Torah spend so much time on the Korbanos of the Nesiim. Rav Chaim Yaakov Goldvicht ztl. used to note that based on the Midrash, each Nasi had different intentions that led him to bring the particular korban that he brought. Although the ends were the same, the reasons were different and worthy of elaboration in the Torah. Rav Schach ztl. adds that in Shomayim, Hashem doesn’t only appreciate the masses but celebrates with each individual as if he were the only one in the world.  


Haftorah: And the Malach appeared to Manoach’s wife and told her she was to have a child (13:3) – The Midrash notes that there was ongoing marital strife between Manoach and his wife over why the stress of infertility afflicted them. Each claimed it was the other one’s fault. The Malach told Mrs. Manoach that it was her biology that indeed was not functioning and that she was wrong for chiding her husband. In fact, the Eitz Yosef notes that the Malach appeared to her and not to Manoach in order to create Shalom Bayis. Rav Binyamin Eisenberger Shlita points out that in marital counseling, it is not best to turn to the side that is ‘correct” and point out the correctness of that position – for to do so, would inflame the argument worse. It is better to go to the other side, with great respect and care but work to get that angle to make amends in order to bring the first side back L’Maan HaShalom.