Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Naso

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

This week in the parsha, we read about the korbanos (sacrifices) that were brought by the heads of each of the tribes following completion of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle. The Torah describes each sacrifice in full detail - precisely what was brought and in what quantity - and yet each sacrifice was exactly the same as the others. Why, then, did the Torah take up so much space? Could we not have merely read the contents of the sacrifices once, followed by the order of the tribes?

Rabbi Shmuel Greinemann, of Bnei Braq, tells us that the decision to bring the same items was made on the second day, when the second tribal head - obviously knowing what sacrifice had been presented the previous day - chose to appear with exactly the same. His intent was to avoid jealousy, which could have arisen had one "outdone" the others. This effort to avoid jealousy, and demonstrate honor and friendship between these tribal heads, was exceptional. Rabbi Greinemann explains that G-d was so pleased that He permitted the seventh sacrifice to take place on the Sabbath (even though individual's sacrifices were normally prohibited), and also recorded the sacrifices - in full - for all generations.

Thus we learn how important it is to avoid doing things that will inspire jealousy. If this is so concerning a spiritual matter like sacrifices, how much more true is it when concerning material goods?

We live in a generation busy "keeping up with the Joneses." This is a plague that has hit many so-called "religious" families, inspiring (for example) a series of houses (mansions, estates, edifices) so grand that one begins to wonder if the owners really plan to leave them for the Land of Israel when the Messiah arrives. One local Rabbi described passing a new Cadillac, driven by a religious woman who carefully followed the requirement to cover her hair. On the other hand, the Rabbi's wife (apparently gifted with an eye for these things that I don't even understand) noticed that her particular hair-covering was a wig valued at several thousand dollars.

Pasted to the Caddie's back bumper was a notice: "We're Ready for Moshiach!"

Not.

Judaism doesn't call for being an ascetic, but it does ask for a reasonable restraint of our material pursuits (material goods are one thing, materialism quite another). And not only is there an inherent problem of running after wealth; there is also the issue of inspiring jealousy from friends and neighbors. The tribal heads in our parsha gave quite generously to the Tabernacle upon its dedication, and yet carefully demonstrated mutual love and respect instead of trying to "go one better." Could we find more worthwhile models?


Text Copyright © 1995 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

What to Cry About
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

9th of Av: Reasons for Fasting - Part 1
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Because of Us, not Through Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

> Unite!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

By The Rivers of Babylon...
Shlomo Katz - 5759

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

The Usual Suspects
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Seeing HASHEM with Our Hearts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

ArtScroll

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Unquestioned Answers
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Tooth and Nail
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

You Gotta Believe
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5765

Paradise Lost
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Children are a Gift
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information