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ויקריבו הנשאים את חנכת המזבח ביום המשח אתו

And the Nesiim offered up a dedication of the Altar on the day it was consecrated. (7:10)

Chazal (Midrash) teach that even though the offerings of the twelve Nesiim were identical, each individual offering alluded to the singular mission of its tribe; thus, the offering of each Nasi represented a unique spiritual message. Indeed, the Torah could have saved much “ink” by including all the korbanos of the Nesiim under one collective banner: “This is what all of the Nesiim offered.” Actually, why did the Nesiim choose to offer identical korbanos? One would think they each wanted to express the uniqueness and individuality of his own tribe. The Ramban quotes the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:13), which (in…

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כה תברכו את בני ישראל אמור להם

So, shall you bless Bnei Yisrael, say to them. (6:23)

When we think of blessing, two forms come to mind: Bircas Kohanim, the Priestly blessing; and the brachah of a tzaddik, holy, G-d-fearing Jew. What is the difference in the structure and efficacy of one over the other? One would think – a blessing is a blessing. Does it really matter who is rendering the blessing? Chazal appear to address this question. The Midrash (Tanchuma, Naso 10) notes that the word emor, say (emor lahem) is written malei, full (with a “vov” as opposed to an “O” vowel sound). Chazal derive from here that the blessing rendered by the Kohanim…

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ואם אין לאיש גואל להשיב האשם אליו

If the man has no kinsman to whom the debt can be returned. (5:8)

When one has sworn falsely against a monetary claim and subsequently confesses, he pays the principal plus a fifth to the one against whom he has sinned. If the one against whom he has sinned has died, he pays his heirs. A male convert who has had no children since his conversion, or a female convert who has not married or given birth to children, has no heirs. If one has sinned against them and they die, since they have no heirs, the money is given to the Kohanim. Chazal (Bava Kamma 109a) asks “Do you have a person in…

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מבן שלשים שנה ומעלה ועד בן חמישים שנה כל הבא לעבוד עבודת עבודה

From thirty years of age and up, until fifty years of age, everyone who comes to perform the work of service. (4:47)

Avodas avodah, work of service, seems to be redundant terminology. Chazal (Arachin 11a) explain that this term refers to the musical accompaniment, which was work that was performed to enhance the service. Music has the power to sweep us up into its mood and rhythm. One can be in no particular mood — or even in a depressed state and filled with negativity – but as soon as he hears a catchy tune, lively music or a song, the beat begins to take over and his mood perks up and changes. Our whole energy is transformed and our morose spirits…

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ביום השני הקריב נתנאל בן צוער נשיא יששכר ביום השלישי נשיא לבני זבולון אליאב בן חלן ביום הרביעי נשיא לבני ראובן אליצור בן שדיאור

On the second day, Nesanel ben Tzuar offered the leader of Yissachar (7:18). On the third day, the leader of the children of Zevulun, Eliav ben Cheilon (7:24). On the fourth day, the leader of the children of Reuven, Elitzur ben Shedeiur. (7:30)

Noticeably, the tribe/Nasi/Prince of Yissachar preceded the tribe of Reuven, who was Yaakov Avinu’s bechor, firstborn. Furthermore, Zevulun also preceded Reuven. The Ohr HaChaim Hakadosh explains that Yissachar preceded Reuven because he was the ben Torah, of the tribe that devoted itself to fulltime commitment to Torah study. Since Zevulun was his honorary partner, supporting him while he was engaged in commerce, he was placed near Yissachar in sequence. We see from the Ohr HaChaim that not only does Torah study take primacy over every other endeavor and achievement, one who supports Torah study, albeit himself not actively engaged in…

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איש או אשה כי יפליא לנדר נדר נזיר

A man or woman who shall dissociate himself by taking a Nazarite vow of abstinence. (6:2)

Why does the Torah juxtapose the incident/parshah of the nazir upon the incident/parshah of the sotah, wayward wife? One who sees a sotah in her degradation should prohibit wine to himself by taking a Nazarite vow (Rashi). The sotah had opted to follow her sensual passion, allowing her pursuit of pleasure to take precedence over her commitment to G-d. One who falls under the grasp of wine can, likewise, fall victim to temptation. A nazir is prohibited to drink wine. A well-known story tells about a dedicated Jew who refused to eat the non-kosher food that was standard fare in…

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'איש או אשה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לד

A man or woman who shall dissociate himself by taking a nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem. (6:2)

A Nazir seeks to dissociate himself from an environment which he feels is filled with temptation. It does not mean that he is weak. On the contrary, he is realistic, understanding that society presents blandishments that are not conducive to spiritual growth. The laws of nazir are juxtaposed upon the laws of sotah, the wayward wife. Chazal derive from here that one who observes a sotah in her degradation should prohibit himself from wine by taking a nazirite vow. The profligate behavior of the sotah is reflective of a woman who has allowed her sensual passions to partner with her…

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וזאת תורת הנזיר ביום מלאת ימי נזרו... והקריב את קרבנו לד'... וכבשה אחת בת שנתה תמימה לחטאת

This shall be the law of the nazir: on the day his abstinence is completed… He shall bring his offering to Hashem… one unblemished ewe in its first year as a sinoffering. (6:13,14)

The nazir completes the time limit of his own abstinence and brings varied korbanos. One of the nazir’s korbanos is a chatas, sin-offering. The Ramban explains that the nazir is considered a “sinner” solely because he ended his vow of abstinence. Having achieved such a lofty spiritual perch he should have remained there, ensconced in spirituality. Why did he leave? Why did he return to a mundane life? Once a person takes a giant step forward/upward, he indicates that he is special. Why not stay in that position? Returning is an indication of weakness, warranting a sin-offering. Ish or isha…

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ויהי המקריב ביום הראשון את קרבנו נחשון בן עמינדב למטה יהודה וקרבנו קערת כסף אחת

The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nachshon ben Aminadav, of the tribe of Yehudah. (And) His offering was: one silver bowl. (7:12,13)

Concerning Nachshon ben Aminadav’s korban, offering, the Torah adds the prefix vav, and (and his korban). The vav ha’chibur, connecting vav, is present to connect the word to the previous sentence. Since Nachshon’s korban was the first offering brought by the Nesiim, the vav is superfluous. It should have said simply korbano, his korban. The Daas Zekeinim miBaalei HaTosfos explain that the Torah wrote this way in order to circumvent the possibility of Nachshon becoming haughty due to his being the first Nasi to bring a korban. Thus, the Torah wrote v’korbano, and his korban, as if to say –…

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זאת חנוכת המזבח ביום המשח אתו מאת נשיאי ישראל

This was the dedication of the Altar, on the day it was anointed, from the Princes of Yisrael. (7:84)

The Torah has just enumerated in detail the offerings of each Nasi, Prince/leader. Twelve Nesiim each brought identical offerings. Yet, the Torah chose to detail each Nasi – offering separately. The Rambam explains that while each Nasi brought the same offering, his machshavah, thought – process and reasoning, for arriving at the decision to bring this specific korban was distinct from that of any other Nasi. Their conclusions were identical; their machasvos, however, were different. Thus, the Torah follows the thought process. Why? Does it make a difference how they all arrived at the same decision concerning what to offer?…

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