web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Serving Hashem – Your Own Way

Winiarz-053014

In keeping with the name of its parent-sefer (Bamidbar – lit., in the desert), this week’s parsha continues detailing the accounts of Bnei Yisrael as they traveled through the wilderness. The Mishkan was finally complete, and the Torah now describes the dedication of the Mizbeyach. Each tribe’s nasi came forward with his offering, wishing to donate in honor of the inauguration. Interestingly, all 12 brought the same offering! This in and of itself wouldn’t be so surprising if not for the fact that the content of the offering was quite varied and detailed. “One silver bowl, its weight a hundred and thirty shekalim; and one silver basin of seventy shekalim; both of them filled with fine flour mixed with oil for a meal offering; one gold ladle… one bull… one ram… one sheep… one he-goat.”Subsequent to describing the offering, the Torah – which is notoriously ungenerous with its words – goes on to repeat itself 12 times, associating each nasi individually with his dedicatory gift.

The two questions that beg to be addressed are as follows: Firstly, how did the nisiim all come to bring the exact same offering? Secondly, how can we justify the Torah’s uncommon display of verbosity? Wouldn’t it suffice to record the entire offering just once? The Ramban provides two answers. The first is fairly well known. “All the leaders brought on the same day this offering upon which they agreed together. [However,] it was impossible that one should not precede his friend, so G-d honored those [tribes] that had precedence regarding the divisions. However, G-d wished to [honor each one] so He mentioned each offering on its day.”What the Ramban is saying is that the nisiim didn’t just happen to decide to bring the same offering. Each item represented a deeper, underlying idea, and when the nisiim thought it out together they agreed on what would be most appropriate to include. However, so as not to disrespect one’s involvement over his fellow’s, Hashem listed all 12.

The Ramban then goes on to reference (what my research bore out to be) an extremely lengthy Midrash. Contrary to the first answer of the Ramban, the Midrash describes how all the nisiim came to bring the same offering independent of each other! The nasi of Reuven had one intention when he brought the 130 shekel-weight silver bowl, the nasi of Shimon had a different intention, and the nasi of Yissachar had yet a third purpose! Similarly, the gold ladle brought by Zevulun’s nasi was brought for a different reason than the ladle brought by the nasi of Asher. Thus, although all the offerings were outwardly identical, each nasi had his own underlying kavanos which led him to decide what to bring.

However, if you’re following the give and take, you might have realized that we have not yet addressed both of our questions. While the Midrash that the Ramban quoted definitely explains how the offerings came to be identical, it does not explain why the Torah felt the need to repeat itself 12 times. True, the offerings stemmed from several diverse rationales. True, the deep concepts represented in the gifts varied from nasi to nasi. But none of these things are seen in the actual gifts. Each nasi brought the same silver bowl, the same gold ladle, and the same he-goat. If one were charged with providing a description of the actual gifts that were brought by each nasi, the list would be monotonously repetitious. Why then, according to this Midrash, does the Torah find it necessary to reiterate the same thing over and over again?

About the Author: Shaya Winiarz is a student of the Rabbinical Seminary of America (a.k.a Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim). He is also a columnist, freelance writer, and public speaker. He can be reached for questions, speaking engagements, or freelance writing at shayawiniarz@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Serving Hashem – Your Own Way”

  1. careful you aren’t gathering treasures on earth or that they may be an idol…..

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest Judaism Stories
Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

Amalek, our ultimate foe, understood that when unified, we are invincible and indestructible.

More Articles from Shaya Winiarz
Winiarz-Shaya-logo

So if we basically live the same life, why should he get eternal reward and not me?”

Winiarz-Shaya-logo

Pesach is a time when we can grow in this perspective. But merely spending a week working on something will not leave any lasting impression on us.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

What fish-like characteristics does this month have that it should be exemplified in such a way?

We must understand the power and impact of our actions.

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When it comes to passing on Jewishness we must follow the mother – for it is she who ensures it.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/serving-hashem-your-own-way/2014/05/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: