MidrESHET Hayil

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Parashat Naso- Naso, Naso, Naso, Naso, Naso….

Parashat Naso- Naso, Naso, Naso, Naso, Naso….

**Please learn for the immediate and lasting Refuah Shelemah of Parvin bat Shokat. Thank you!

23. Speak to Aharon and his sons, saying: This is how you shall bless Benei Yisrael, saying to them:

כג. דַּבֵּר אֶל אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר כֹּה תְבָרֲכוּ אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמוֹר לָהֶם:
24. "May HaShem bless you and watch over you.

כד. יְבָרֶכְךָ ה' וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ:
25. May HaShem cause His countenance to shine to you and favor you.

כה. יָאֵר ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ:
26. May HaShem raise His countenance toward you and grant you Peace.

כו. יִשָּׂא ה' פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:

At 176 pesukim, Parashat Naso is the longest Parashah in the Torah HaKedosha. This is probably because the Torah takes the time to recount every single korban that each of the twelve Nesi’im (princes) of each Shevet brought on the day of the inauguration of the Mishkan, even though each Shevet brought literally the same exact korban as the other eleven Shevatim. Each Shevet brought the same type and amount of animals, the same amount of ketoret (incense), the same amount of flour, and the same weight of gold and silver bowls and spoons in which they offered the korbanot. Couldn’t the Torah just describe the korban once and say that each of the Twelve Shevatim brought this korban, instead of listing it twelve times the same exact way? Did HaShem have extra ink to spare when He was writing the Torah? I think not.

Let’s explore…

Among the topics in this Parashah of counting the Levi’im, Ishah Sotah (a woman suspected of being unfaithful to her husband), a Nazir (a ‘monk’), and the gifts of the Nesi’im is also that of Birkat Kohanim. Birkat Kohanim is a special berakhah that the Kohanim give to Benei Yisrael as a direct channel from HaKadosh Barukh Hu. It consists of three pesukim, fifteen words, and sixty letters (see pasuk above). The berakhah ends off with the word ‘Shalom’. The first time that we received the Birkat Kohanim was the inauguration of the Mishkan.

Hold on, this sounds familiar….

Each Shevet brought three types of animals for the korban (rams, goats, and sheep) and brought five of each, totaling fifteen animals each. Between all the Nesi’im, sixty of each type of animal was brought. Most of these animals were brought as a Korban Shelamim, a Peace Offering. When did the Nesi’im each bring these korbanot? The inauguration of the Mishkan!

Do you see the direct connection? It’s truly astounding!

It gets even better. What do we call the prince of each Shevet that brought a korban? Nasi. What do we call Birkat Kohanim? Nesi’at Kapayim (‘Lifting of the Palms’ since the Kohanim lift their hands when they give us this berakhah). What is the name of the Parashah? Naso (to count, since the Levi’im are counted here).  Is that normal? They all have the same root- nasa (נשא)- to raise up. (Okay I can’t help it, but the word for marriage is Nisuin, which is what Ishah Sotah is all about- same root word. I seriously don’t understand how there are atheists walking around this world, the Torah is so beautiful! Their loss…)

The Rambam explains the although each Shevet physically brought the same korban, the Kavanah and the symbolism behind each korban was completely different. For example, Nahshon ben Aminadav of Shevet Yehudah offered a Ke’arah to symbolize Shelomo HaMelekh who was destined to emerge from his Shevet and who would rule over the sea as well as land.  The Ke’arah symbolizes the sea because it is round, just as the ocean surrounds the entire world.  The second Nasi, Netanel ben Ssuar of Shevet Yisakhar, offered the same Ke’arah but in his mind he brought it to symbolize that his Shevet will produce the Torah teachers in Kelal Yisrael, and the Torah is called ‘Lekhem,’ bread, and the Lekhem HaPanim in the Beit HaMikdash was accompanied by Ke’arot. Each Shevet on its own decided to bring its specific korban with its own special meaning. No two korbanot were alike.

This is why each korban deserved to be mentioned and recognized as standing on its own.

Nowadays, we do not have the ability to bring korbanot. Is there anything else that we could offer in order to ‘raise’ ourselves up just like these Nesi’im did?

There sure is!

In Tefillat Musaf we daven, ‘u’Neshalmah Parim Sefateinu’, that our lips pay service instead of the cows that we used to bring as korbanot in the Beit HaMikdash. TEFILLAH REPLACES KORBANOT.

Instead of doing the Avodah (‘service’/work) in the Mishkan, we do Avodah she ba’Lev, the Avodah in our hearts. What is Avodah she ba’Lev? HaRambam tells us that it is nothing more than Tefillah.

A single Tefillah has the same power as an entire Korban.

Sometimes we may feel that our Tefillah is so redundant. We daven the same exact thing three times a day, ask for the same things, over and over (and over) again. Not only that, but our Tefillah is the same exact Tefillah that the rest of Kelal Yisrael daven three times a day as well. Who is to say that my Tefillah will be answered among the multitudes of identical Tefillot being raised up to Shamayim? What makes my Tefillah any different?

You tell me.

Just like the korbanot of the Nesi’im were different from one another, no two Tefillot are the same. Each and every Tefillah, whether in comparison to the one you davened that morning, or compared to the Tefillah of the other nine men in your minyan, has its own special kavanah, its own special flavor and meaning that only you could create. Only you can decide on the intensity of your Tefillah. Only you can decide the sincerity of your Tefillah. Only you can decide how inspiring, meaningful, focused, emotional and heartfelt your Tefillah is. Only YOU can decide how high you want to raise your Tefillah to Shamayim. Make it your own. No two Tefillot are the same.

The fact that the structure of our Tefillah is repetitive allows us to focus more on the feeling and emotions we have while davening instead of just trying to master new words each time. It’s not just reading a book out loud; HaShem doesn’t need storytime. He doesn’t need to hear us droning on in a monotone either. He wants to hear the beautiful melody only you can produce. Instead of trying to focus on the body of your Tefillah, give it a Neshamah, infuse it with life, with vivavcity!

Be’Ezrat HaShem, May HaKadosh Barukh Hu answer every single one of our Tefillot le’Tova u’le’Berakhah! May we all be zokhim to be blessed with Shalom which is ‘keli mahzik berakhah’ the vessel that holds all the berakhah that HaKadosh Barukh Hu blesses us with! May each of our Tefillot become more meaningful and more powerful than the previous one and may they burn as intensely as the korbanot once did and will do once more in the Beit HaMikdash, Amen!

Wishing each and every one a Shabbat Shalom u’Mevorakh!

Ariella Samimi

Based on the brilliant teachings of: Rabbi Winston, Rabbi Eli Ozarowski, and Yeshiva.co.il

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