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 VAYIGASH AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Yosef and Chanukah
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Everyday Miracles
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Oh Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

> Thanks for What?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

The Ultimate Pawn Shop
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5764

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Family Values
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

A Spiritual Holiday
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

'The Plan'
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Chanukah Vs. Purim
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Redemption At A Moment's Notice
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

ArtScroll

Yehuda, Yosef and Chanukah
Shlomo Katz - 5763

To Live in Harmony During Peaceful Times
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

This Nation to That Notion
Rabbi Label Lam - 5770

Preconceived notions
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774



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