Giving by Uri Carl


In the beginning of Parshat Naso, the Torah devotes much space to telling us the Korban of each Nasi for the Chanukat Hamishkan, the dedication ceremony performed upon completing the Mishkan.  Many commentators have tried to explain the purpose of the Torah’s enumerating the identical Korbanot of each Nasi.  One possible explanation is given by Rashi, quoting Rabbi Natan.  Why, he asks, did the Nesiim choose to donate here by the dedication of the Mishkan, whereas during the building of the Mishkan they gave last? He answers that at the time of building the Mishkan, the Nesiim said that they would supply what was lacking in the donations of the community.  However, since Bnei Yisrael brought almost everything, the Nesiim could only bring the stones for the Ephod and Choshen.  Therefore, when it came to the dedication of the Mishkan here in Naso, they decided to donate first.

I believe Rashi is hinting to the fact that the Jewish tradition is one of giving to each other and to important causes, with personal time and dedication as well with money.  The Nesiim who did not bring previously brought here first.  They did not ask others in their Shevet to bring for them; instead, each Nasi took the time and effort to bring his Korban, despite the fact that it was identical to those of the other Nesiim.  The Torah wants us to appreciate each and every gift, for although they were identical, each Nasi brought his with a full heart.  This teaches us the important Jewish tradition of giving to one another.

This tradition may be summed up in the words of Pirkei Avot.  It says that one who believs that what is his is his and what is another’s is another’s is at an intermediate level.  However, a person who says that both what is his is another’s and what is another’s is another’s is a righteous man.

One who is constantly giving is fulfilling an important Mitzvah of Bein Adam Lechaveiro.  Rabi Akiva’s famous saying is “‘Veahavta Leraiacha Kamocha’ – Zeh Klal Gadol BaTorah.”  If one makes sure to give, he fulfills the “Klal Gadol BaTorah.” Moreover, this Pasuk makes perfect sense, because by giving to a friend and saying that what is one’s own is like his friend’s, one shows that he loves his friend as himself.  Furthermore, if we fulfill this Mitzvah, we will hasten the coming of Mashiach very much, because one of the major reasons that the second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed was Sinat Chinam, hatred between Jews.  Similarly, there was Sinat Chinam in Noach’s time, which was the reason for the Mabul that almost destroyed the world.    Therefore, we must strive to overcome Sinat Chinam and be constantly giving to each other.

Talent on Loan from God by Dr. Joel M. Berman

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