The Nesiim, Princes, each offered sacrifices in honor of the inauguration of the Mizbayach. They each brought an identical offering. Yet, the Torah records each one’s offering, emphasizing its individuality. The Ramban adds that each Nasi maintained a different kavanah, intention, in his offering. Hence, the Torah records each Nasi’s korban separately, to underscore his individual thoughts. Horav Simcha Zissel Broide, z.l., derives from here that two actions, albeit identical, which are the result of two different machshavos, thoughts/intentions, are considered two distinct actions. In other words, since the Nesiim each had different intentions, the korbanos are viewed as being distinct from any other.
It is all in the mind. Every individual thinks in his own unique manner. Even if the result of two individual’s way of thinking coincides, their thoughts are not analogous, thus creating two different representations of thought. This is to be noted from a statement made by Chazal in Zevachim 7a. According to Rav Chisda, if one slaughters a Korban Todah, thanksgiving-offering, in the name of his fellow’s Korban Todah, it is deemed invalid, because it falls under the rule of Shinui Kodesh, transferred holiness. Although both animals were holy and destined to be slaughtered as a Korban Todah, my Korban Todah is not my friend’s Korban Todah and vice versa. Each person possesses his own individual faculties which creates a distinction in actions. Hence, it is as if he slaughtered the animal for a completely different korban.
We should add that this type of individuality should be respected in all people. A mechanech, educator, is mandated to recognize each student’s individuality and uniqueness: “Chanoch l’naar al pi darko”, “Raise a child according to his way” (Mishlei 22:6). Shlomo Ha’melech teaches us the most important maxim in education: every child must be raised and taught as an individual. The overall objective is the same: the child should grow up to be a G-d-fearing observant Jew whose actions will be pleasing to his Maker and to the society in which he lives. The practical method by which we are to guide each individual to reach the intended goal, is not the same. There are varied proclivities and temperaments, as well as intellectual and emotional potential that must be considered. Each student, or siblings in a family, must be guided commensurate with his own unique qualities. Only then can we hope to achieve success in this noble endeavor.