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Home » Naso

Naso: Food for Thought for Your Dinner Table

Submitted by on May 30, 2008 – 3:56 pmNo Comment | 3,055 views

Sunday: Never Too Late

The Levites began to serve in the sanctuary at the age of thirty and their primary task was transporting the sanctuary across the desert. The desert is an arid environment with no water. Water is a symbol for the Torah. On a spiritual plane, the desert represents a state of mind that is devoid of Torah and spirituality. The Levites, who transported the sanctuary across the desert, symbolically offered the fountain of Torah to the spiritual deserts of mankind.

Our own lives can also sometimes look like spiritual deserts and we too must take up the Levite’s duty of refreshing our lives through spirituality and Torah. Lest we despair by thinking that we are too old and it is too late to turn over a new leaf we are reminded that the Levites were thirty years old before they even began their work. Likutei Sichos

Monday: White Theft

The Torah portion that speaks of the general prohibition against theft also mentions the prohibition of stealing from a proselyte, who passes on with no living relatives. The proximity of these concepts teaches us a lesson about theft. Theft is not wrong because the victim is made to suffer, it is wrong because it is intrinsically immoral. The proselyte who passes on with no family will leave no heirs to miss the stolen goods. Nevertheless theft is forbidden. It is intrinsically and morally wrong. Derash Moshe

Tuesday: True Possessions

“The consecration offerings of each individual remain his own property.” The literal meaning of these words is that the prerogative over which priest or Levite receives one’s priestly offerings belongs to the Israelite who makes the offering. An alternate, less literal, reading of these words is as follows: The only things that belong to us, truly and completely, are our good deeds. Our monetary gains, social fame and material achievements do not accompany us on our final journey. The only possession that accompanies on our journey to heaven, are our consecrated acts – our Mitzvot. Chafetz Chayim

Wednesday: Honor by Association

“I will link my name with the children of Israel.” Society accords privileged status to associates of a privileged person e.g. the wife of the president is honored as the first lady. In this blessing G-d promises that our nation will be accorded special honor and singled out for special treatment because we will be associated with G-d, the creator of all humanity. His name will be linked with us and we will thus be honored. Avodas Yisroel

Thursday: Equality = Peace

The second tribal prince to deliver the inaugural offering was Netanel Ben Tzuar, prince of Yissachar. Yissachor was Yaakov’s fifth son, why did his tribe deliver the second offering? The Midrash relates that the idea of an inaugural offering was suggested by Netanel, prince of Yissachor. Furthermore, it was he who suggested that all the tribes offer the same sacrifice, thus ensuring equality and unity among them. G-d was enthralled by the suggestion and declared: “You have ensured equality and peace among you. I would like to join you as well. Take my Shabbat.” Personal offerings are usually forbidden on Shabbat, but in this case G-d made an exception and allowed the offering to be brought on Shabbat. Midrash Rabba

Friday: A name

Every name cited in the Torah has meaning. As an example we will review the name Achiezer son of Amisha-dai, prince of the tribe of Dan. Achiezer means assisting my brother, which refers to Shimshon the mighty, who hailed from the tribe of Dan. Shimshon was graced with the spirit of the Divine and is thus described by G-d as my brother. Shimshon, G-d endowed his “brother,” Shimshon with superhuman strength hence the term, assisting my brother.

Amisha-dai, means G-d is with me. This is precisely the prayer that Shimshon offered (using this particular Divine name) when he asked for one final burst of strength to help him destroy the Philistine stronghold and defeat the enemy of Israel. Or Hachayim

Shabbat: Silent Commands

When Moses entered the sanctuary he heard the Divine voice speaking as if to itself. To Moses it felt as if he were eavesdropping on a conversation G-d was having with Himself.

G-d issues a continuous chain of commands though He issues them quietly; speaking, as if, to Himself. Moses was able to hear these voices though we are not. Yet we know that when we travel from one city to another it is decreed in heaven that we make this journey. We don’t hear the decree and don’t know the Divine purpose of our travels yet we are certain that wherever we are, it is with Divine purpose. Our travels are no different from Abraham’s Biblical journey, which was commanded by G-d. The only difference between Abraham and us is that Abraham heard the command while we must believe it.
Derash Moshe

Edited by Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort, Director of Chabad at La Costa.