Parshas Naso: Offerings and Dedications

This week’s Parsha, Naso, coincides with the holiday of Shovuos, one of the “Shalosh regalim”, the three pilgrimage festivals (the others beeing Pesach and Sukkos). As we read through the Sedra, we learn an important lesson about our own importance as Jews, one which is echoed by the festival which we celebrate tonight.

The parsha begins with the conclusion of the census found in Bamidbor, before detailing the laws of the Sotah (wayward wife) and the nazir (one who takes a vow to separate himself for G-d, by abstaining from certain worldly pleasures). It then tells us about the dedications of the princes of the tribes; each brought an offering to the altar. And although each brought the same offering, the Torah describes each dedication as if it were unique. Why?

These descriptions send a strong message. They send the message that each dedication was important. Each one wasn’t valued. And that without any one of them, the Parsha wouldn’t have been “complete”. In lieu of offerings, we daven. We offer verbal supplications rather than sacrifices. And like the dedications of the tribes, our prayers are often identical. Many of us say exactly the same words. And yet- each tefilla matters. Each word counts. No matter how many other people have said that same prayer, it is still valued and heard by G-d.

Over the following days, we will receive the Torah yet again. We will stand at Sinai yet again. And as we do so, we must remember that the presence of each and every one of us is important. G-d cares for and loves every Jew, and counts our tefillos and good deeds with love. With this in mind, may we enter Shovuos with the knowledge of our own value, and may we all merit to receive the Torah in good health and happiness!

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