Finally, it looks like my account is working again! :)

This week’s parasha starts off continuing speaking about the roles of the families of Levi. First we learn about Gershon’s family responsibilities, followed by Merari’s. The Torah tells the number of people in Shevet Levi, and then the parasha moves on to talk about purity within the Jewish camp. We learn various systems of confession and dealing with different issues that can come up in interpersonal relationships.

Hashem tells Moshe Rabbeinu about the Birkas Kohanim, the Priestly Blessings, which Aharon HaKohein, the High Priest, and his descendants bestow upon the Jewish people in Hasem’s Name.

The rest of the parasha contains the offerings brought, including those of the Nesi’im, the heads of each tribe, in honor of the dedication of the Tabernacle. The parasha ends with Moshe entering the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, for Hashem to speak with him.

Repeating the offering of each Nasi makes Parashas Naso the longest parasha in the Torah. The famous question goes, why does Hashem see the need to repeat every single one of the twelve Nesi’im‘s offerings as if they were unique? The Torah repeats the same words twelve times as we learn about each Nasi‘s offering. How can this be necessary?

I actually spoke about this at my high school graduation three years ago. I compared the uniqueness of each of the twelve girls in my class to that of the Nesi’im. On stage at graduation, we were twelve girls in matching caps and gowns, hair down, black shoes… who would know the difference between us by looking at us from the outside? The parable stands for any of us. You can have a hundred Bais Yaakov students in a room together, dressed in the same uniform with the same hairstyle, and yet if you talk to a few girls, you’ll find that each one is vastly different, no matter how they look on the outside.Parashas Naso

So too with the Nesi’im. Each Nasi‘s offering may look the same from the outside. On the inside, however, there’s a totally different world in every single Nasi. Every person has his own intentions, thoughts, struggles, challenges and victories; we all have our own personal connection with Hashem and relationships with people.

Parashas Naso, the longest parasha in the Torah, comes to teach us about individuality. It’s not about the clothing you wear, the way you wear your hair, or the way you talk. You are YOU because Hashem created you as a special, unique individual. There are things that you have to accomplish in this world that NOBODY ELSE can ever do because you are the only person with your unique set of talents, abilities, strengths, and even weaknesses.

There are three levels to fulfilling Hashem’s will in this world: your connection with Hashem, your relationships with other people, and your relationship with yourself. How do you view yourself? Do you realize what a special individual you are? Your potential is endless.  You are a special member of Hashem’s special people and you can change the world! You just need the self awareness and self confidence to know who you are and what you can do – then you’re able to move on to fulfill everything else.

This week we will celebrate the holiday of Shavuos, the day when Hashem gave us the Torah. But it’s not a matter of when we got the Torah – on the Jewish calendar, we recelebrate every occasion like it’s happening right now. 3,326 years ago, Hashem gave the Jewish people the Torah for the first time. This week, once again, He’s going to give it to every single of us, brand new and relevant, fresh and exciting, special for our own unique personalities and selves.

With a renewed sense of confidence in ourselves, we can go ahead and take that personalized gift from Hashem, take care of it and use it to our fullest potential.

Are you ready to receive the Torah?

(Partially based on a D’var Torah from by Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig)

Listening to Ta’amu on the album Modim by Baruch Levine! Incredible album :)

Have a super Shabbos and an inspiring, enlightening, uplifting Shavuos!