Through Thick and Thin by Alex Katzenstein


In Parshat Naso (5:6), the Torah writes, “The sacred offerings of every individual will be his.  Each man who will give to the Kohen – it shall be his.”  The literal and simple explanation of this Pasuk is that although one is obligated to give of his possessions to the Kohen, he still can choose which Kohen to give it to.  No single Kohen has the right to all the gifts.

Rabbi Chaim Dovid Green told an interesting parable in the name of the Chofetz Chaim which gives the Pasuk a deeper meaning.  There was once a man, whom we will call David, who was a servant to the king.  The king, who had quite high standards, assigned David to complete a certain task, which David failed to do.  David was in great fear and did not know what to do.  He could think of only three people to call upon in his time of need: Shimon, Levi, and Yehuda.  Shimon had been David’s close friend for his entire life, and David was sure he could count on him.  Levi was another friend of his whom he could depend on.  Yehudah was more of an acquaintance of David’s whom he had never felt very close to.

David first asked Shimon to accompany him on his journey to the king’s palace in order to stand i

n his defense.  Shimon replied that he was sorry but just could not help him.  Devastated, David went to Levi thinking he might help him.  Levi offered to walk him to the gates of the palace but no farther.  Having no other option, David turned to Yehuda.  To David’s amazement, Yehuda offered to go with him every step of the way and defend him to the best of his ability before the king.

This story teaches us a very important lesson.  Every Jew is David and going to face the King of Kings after death.  Shimon represents material objects and wealth.  For our entire lives, we rely on Shimon and depend on him for everything, but he is unable to accompany us after death.  Levi represents our families and close friends who are always there for us.  They cry for us and try their best, going even as far as our graves, but they cannot go beyond that point.  Yehuda represents Torah study and Mitzvot.  We never really thought he would be our best friend, but had we taken the time to give him an important role in our lives, he would have been there through thick and thin.  Yehuda is the only one we take with us and it is our best defense and testimony in front of Hashem.

Relating back to the original Pasuk, “The one who gives…it shall be his.”  Truly, what he gives shall be his.  Mitzvot, if one creates a proper relationship with them, are something that safeguarded one’s life, both in Olam HaZeh and Olam HaBa.


A Kedushah of Caring by Chaim Strassman

Yerushalayim, the City of Unity by Doniel Sherman