Parshas Naso is notable for its length, and its length is notable for its redundancy. The Torah minces no words, and therefore we understand that the repetition in the description of the Mishkan’s inaugural service is purposeful and laden with meaning. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that this is a reflection on the importance and centrality of the Mishkan.
“And the nesi’im brought their offering” (7:10).
The purpose of the offerings by the nesi’im was to enhance the honor of the service. When the most important men demonstrate their service to Hashem, the people become greatly influenced. “The princes of the peoples [the tribes] are gathered together, the people of the G-d of Abraham; for when the shields of the land [the leaders] belong to G-d, He becomes greatly exalted” (Tehillim 47:10).
Wealth and power are given solely to be used for adding to Hashem’s honor. “Why is the property of the wealthy confiscated by the [gentile] government? [One reason:] Because they did not use their power to prevent transgressors from sinning” (Sukkah 29A, B). When the wealthiest became reformers and assimilationists, they caused the greatest havoc. Sir Moses Montefiore, who was the most important Jewish dignitary in England, left a tremendous impression on the Jewish nation.
Because the nesi’im honored the service of Hashem, they were given the privilege of offering ketoret. Montefiore, by his loyalty to Torah observance, produced a fragrance of immense honor to Hashem’s Torah; similarly, when any powerful or prominent Jew demonstrates his fervent loyalty to Hashem, it is a ketoret offering to Hashem. All the offerings of the nesi’im were accompanied by the Minchas N’sachim, as required by the Torah, consisting of a minchah offering and also a wine offering as specified in Bamidbar 15. The Minchas N’sachim is not mentioned, for it is understood that this is required; but the ketoret is mentioned because it is exceptional – solely in this instance – that anyone could donate it.
“And he who presented his offering on the first day was Nachshon ben Aminadav of the tribe of Yehudah” (7:12). We might ask why the Torah did not merely say, “These offerings were brought by each of the nesi’im; on the first day was Nachshon ben Aminadav of the tribe of Yehudah, on the second day was Nathanel ben Zuar…” instead of repeating for each of the nesi’im individually all the details of his offering. All brought exactly the same offerings, and therefore it might appear as an unnecessary expenditure of the priceless Torah text merely to repeat again and again the same description.
But we must keep in mind the Mishkan had been declared by Hashem (Shemos 25:8, 29:45) to be His place of residence, thus making this the center of the entire universe. The dedication of the Mishkan was no less important than the Creation of the World: “A Mikdash of Hashem that Your hands established” (Shemos 15:17); “the handiwork of the righteous ones [that fashioned the Mishkan] is even greater than the creation of heaven and earth” (Kesubos 8A), and they are the Creator’s hands. Thus every day of the dedication-offerings by each of the nesi’im was no less momentous than the appearance of a new sun in the heavens that filled the world with its light.
Each of the nesi’im came with his offerings and incense to enhance the splendor of Hashem’s palace. If we would understand the vastness of the importance of Hashem’s residence among the sons of Israel, we would surely realize that each day of the dedication deserves to be repeated in the Torah.
Compiled for The Jewish Press by the Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, which Rabbi Miller, zt”l, founded and authorized to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com.
For more information, or to sponsor a Simchas Hachaim Foundation program, call 718-258-7400 or e-mail info@SimchasHachaim.com.Rabbi Avigdor Miller