Vol 28.06 - Naso 2                          Spanish French Audio  Video

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(5745) Why did the princes bring limited offerings – only six covered wagons and twelve oxen.

Many ways in the boundary of the offerings of the wagons and the oxen (according to the wording of the Sifri(7:3) and the Midrash Rab. (12:16, ibid 18),

The lesson that there is no particular that is unnecessary (Sh'ein shum perat l'vatala)  


In the portion of Naso, the Torah relates:1 “it was on the day that Moshe finished setting up the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) … that the princes of Israel … the princes of the tribes … brought their offering before G‑d — six covered wagons and 12 oxen, a wagon for every two of the princes….”

The entire Jewish nation contributed generously for the construction of the Mishkan, so much so that the gifts were “sufficient… and more than sufficient.”2 How is it then that the princes of Israel were seemingly miserly in their gift of wagons, each contributing only half a wagon?

Moreover, our Sages inform us3 that Moshe did not accept any gift for the Mishkan until G‑d agreed that the gift was appropriate. Evidently, G‑d was satisfied with a gift of only half a wagon from each prince. How could this be, considering that with regard to the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash, “there is no room for deprivation in a place of grandeur”4 ?

The Gemara explains5 that the wagons used for loading the boards were so loaded that there was not an inch to spare.

There is a maxim:6 “All that G‑d created in His world was created with a purpose.” This principle applies at all times and in all places. With the construction of the Mishkan and the dwelling therein of the Divine Presence, this ideal was realized to the fullest extent — everything was totally used for the purpose for which it was created.

Therefore, although the Mishkan was constructed in a manner reflecting grandeur and opulence, nothing went to waste. Since 12 oxen and six wagons were sufficient for carrying the Mishkan, it would have been improper to use more.

The obvious lesson here is how important it is for each of us to use the faculties and talents with which G‑d endowed us to the fullest, so that nothing goes to waste. Rather, we are to use these talents to fulfill the purpose and objective for which we were made — “I have been created to serve my Maker.”

The above applies as well to each of the soul’s powers, so that with regard to the study of Torah, for example, one should toil with all one’s intelligence and might.

So too, with regard to the rest of a person’s faculties — they are to be used for the “sake of Heaven,” such that “in all your ways shall you know Him.” Every man and woman is to employ his or her talents for the sake of performing mitzvos in the most beautiful manner possible.

The same is true with regard to the use of time. Even if someone fills 23 hours and 59 minutes of a day with positive accomplishments, he should seek to use the remaining minute, so that it not go to waste.

Herein is the lesson we learn from the Mishkan: a seemingly superfluous thing causes a deficiency in the Mishkan as a whole, and consequently, in the indwelling of the Divine Presence, both within the literal Mishkan and within the internal Mishkan that resides in the heart of every Jew.7

When a Jew fails to use even the smallest part of his ability in refining his share of this world — a world in which “nothing was created without a purpose” — a measure of disorder results.

But when every Jew uses all his powers and faculties for the sake of “having been created to serve his Maker,” then G‑d dwells in a revealed manner within him and within the world. In turn, this reveals that creation is entirely G‑d’s doing.

All this leads to the construction of the Third Beis HaMikdash, which will be speedily built through our righteous Moshiach.

1.    Bamidbar 7:1-3.
2.    Shmos 36:7.
3.    Sifri, 7:3; Bamidbar Rabbah 12:18.
4.    Shabbos 102b et al.
5.    Ibid., 99a.
6.    Ibid., 77b.
7.    See Reishis Chochmah, Shaar HaAhavah, ch. 6; Sheloh, Shaar HaOsiyos, Os 30.




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