Thursday, May 28, 2015

Same but Different

This week's Torah portion, Nasso, is the longest parsha with 176 verses. It is always read right before or right after Shavuoth. This is a clear indication that there must be something of great importance to be learned from here that is central to our keeping of the Torah.

The parsha starts with the tribe of Levi's responsibilities moving the Mishkan. Then you have the Cohen's blessing. Finally, it ends with the offerings brought by each of the Israelite (Yisrael) tribal princes for the Mishkan's inauguration. This adds to the central importance of the message to each tribe and each classification, Cohen, Levi and Yisrael, with regards to our service of Hashem, symbolized by the Mishkan.

What central lessons can be learned from these three sections, Levi's responsibilities, Cohen's blessing and Yisrael's inaugural offerings?

The service of the Levi was manual labor, moving and hauling parts of the Mishkan. This teaches us that even physical work can be holy and that we must serve Hashem not only with Torah and Mitzvos but also our physical day to day actions.

The Cohen, with love, blesses all the Jewish people with blessings of physical abundance, physical grace and physical peace. The Cohen is made to recognize that Hashem loves and values every Jew, in every place and at every time and wants him to have physical abundance, etc. So too, we must recognize the value of every Jew and seek to have them included in Hashem's service. We must find pleasure in each others good fortune and seek to help those who haven't found their's yet.

It seems that all the princes brought the same offering, but if one is to delve deeper into the symbolism of each princes offering, you will find, that what looked the same was unique in meaning and therefore, truly different.  When we do a mitzvah, it might seem that it is the same as the next guys mitzvah, we both put on Tefilin, we both light Shabbos candles. In truth, we are all different and though we are doing the same action, the Mitzvos we do couldn't be more unique. No one can do your mitzvah. This is why each offering had to be separately written, though they look alike, they are not.

So you see, your physical action is holy, your physical abundance is cherished and your Mitzvos are unique, the same but different. We can't do without you.

The Jewish people and the Torah are one.  We are the ones who live it.  We are living Torahs and everything we do could be holy and special.

Writing these Dvar Torahs made me realize that I have my unique way of seeing the world. It made me realize that I have something different to contribute. Thanks to you, I feel that my efforts are valued and I feel loved and cherished. I guess you really do get this, even if you haven't thought about it.


  1. And Hashem's blessing and reward in return is immeasurably greater than what one physically inputs, and more unique than the individual's uniqueness.
    So now, may Hashem bless you and restore your physical strength to be immeasurably greater than to lift those heavy beams of the Mishkan and those massive marble cubes of the Mikdash, and your physical speech immeasurably more powerful and fulfilling than to sing, speak, and bless for multitudes to hear, and finally, due to your speedy and complete recovery, to bring you own "unique" Offering of Thanks in the upcoming inauguration of the Mikdash Hashlishi, now Mamaash!

  2. Rabbi you're an inspiration all. Your efforts are truly amazing, and as you always have, help us reach a higher level of knowledge and spirituality.

  3. I read the article in Hamodi magazine and ot was excellent. I told over the dvar torah on shabbos, it was so appropriate.

  4. Beautiful
    Thanks for these weekly gems