Naso: The Uniqueness of Each Nasi's Korban

Jun 12, 1992

Editor's Note: The following is based upon a private conversation between HaRav Drillman, zt"l and the editor that took place on Erev Shabbos Kodesh, 12 Sivan 5752 (6/12/92) via telephone following the end of the Z'man at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchok Elchonan. Many of these ideas are based upon ideas expressed by Rabbeinu u'Moreinu HaGaon HaRav Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveitchik, zt"l at the weekly Moriah Shiur given in June of 1976.

Bamidbar 7:1-3: "It came to pass, on the day Moshe finished erecting the Mishkan, and he anointed it and consecrated it and all of its utensils, and the Altar and all its utensils, and he anointed them and consecrated them. The leaders of Israel brought, [those who were] the heads of their fathers' houses; they were the leaders of the tribes, they stood by during the counting. They brought their offerings..."

One of the main occurrences in Parshas Naso is that of the Chanukkas HaMizbeach, the consecration of the altar, in the Mishkan. What is most interesting about the way in which this event is related is that even though the Nasi, leader, of each of the tribes brought an identical sacrifice to commemorate the historic occasion, the Torah repeats each and every one of the details of each offering.

Why was it necessary for the Torah to repeat the specifics of each korban? Would it not have been enough to say that each Nasi brought the same offering, of what the offering was comprised, and which Nasi brought his offering on which day of the festivities? Furthermore, should we accept that there is a reason for the Torah having done so, we must still ask why the Torah summarizes the total number of the sacrifices that were brought during the consecration period at the end of the Parsha?

The Ramban offers us two answers for our questions. According to the Ramban, the Torah wanted to bestow honor upon each Nasi and his respective Sheivet by appointing a specific day for each tribe to bring its gift to the Mishkan. Since it was an impossibility for each Nasi to be the first to offer his korban, each was honored instead with his own day to bring his tribes' offering. The second reason that the Torah lists each and every offering, says the Ramban, is that each Nasi, simultaneously and yet still on their own, decided to bring the same sacrifice in honor of the consecration. The Ribbono Shel Olam agreed, k'vayachol, with this idea. Similar cases can be found in several places within the Torah. One such example is that of the episode of the daughters of Tzlofchad from which we learn that a daughter inherits the property of her father should there not be any male offspring. Another example is that of the mitzvah of Pesach Sheini.

However, while the physical sacrifice may have been identical, according to the Ramban each leader had a different Hashkafic approach to his sacrifice. Examples of this concept are that of Sheivet Yehudah which brought their korban with notions of Malchus in mind, Sheivet Zevulun which sought financial success, and Sheivet Yissochar which prayed to the Ribbono Shel Olam for success in the learning of Torah. Though outwardly it would appear that each Nasi brought the same offering on behalf of his people we find that the Korban Sheb'lev, a closer look at the internal perspective and approach associated with each offering reveals that each Korban was, in fact, unique in its own way.

HaRav Drillman pointed out that if one examines other instances of korbanos being brought in the Torah one would find that the name of HKB"H usually associated with sacrifices is the tetragrammaton as opposed to "Elokim" which is the name which is associated with the divine attribute of justice, the Middas HaDin. Utilizing a strict application of the concept of the Midas HaDin, it would appear that Man should have to offer himself as atonement for his sins. Only due to the implementation of the Middas HaChessed v'HaRachamim, the divine attribute of Kindness and Mercy, is Man able to atone for his sins by bringing an animal in his place. An example of this concept in found in the parsha of Akeidas Yitzchok when HKB"H tells Avraham Avinu to bring Yitzchok as a sacrifice. Just as Avraham is about to take his son's life, HKB"H appears to Avraham with the name Elokim, connoting Middas HaDin. Only after Avraham shows his readiness to give up his son as a demonstration of his commitment to HKB"H, does the Ribbono Shel Olam call out to Avraham, using the name that denotes the Middas HaChessed v'Rachamim.

According to Chazal the passuk "Adam ki yakriv mikem..." means that Man must be prepared to sacrifice himself as required by Middas HaDin. It is only through the Midas Hachesed of HKB"H that man may substitute a different offering in his place of his own life.

The Kavanah HaLev associated with a person's sacrifice is transferred to his substitute Korban making it unique and truly his own. In the Midbar, each Sheivet had a separate identity with unique talents and strengths symbolized by the unique device depicted upon their flag and the color associated with each tribe. Together, the colors of the various tribes comprise the complete color spectrum. It is this rainbow of color which makes up Klal Yisroel. Even though on an external and superficial level each of the elders brought the same Korban, each Korban was as important and unique as the flag and the color of the Sheivet by which it was brought.

HaRav Drillman also pointed out that we find in Parshas Naso that the term "Knesses Yisroel" is used instead of the more common terminology of "Am Yisroel". What is the significance of this? The word "Knesses" is derived from the root "likaneis", "to bring in". The meaning of the term Knesses Yisroel is that each individual Jew and each individual tribe contributes their special qualities and their uniqueness of the overall mosaic that is Bnei Yisroel. It is to this idea that the Ramban was referring when he writes that after specifying the sacrifice for each Nasi the Torah reviews the total number of sacrifices brought during the consecrational period. The Chanukkas HaMishkan is representative of the contributions made by each of the tribes which, when viewed together, allow us to appreciate the glory of a complete and united Knesses Yisroel.

The Torah tells us that HKB"H blessed Avraham Avinu "Bakol", with everything. Avraham, the first Jew, possesed all the qualities and attributes that later embodies by all of his descendants, Klal Yisroel. In Bereishis, the Ramban comments that "Bakol" when referring to Avraham Avinu is similar to the term "Kallah" as utilized by Shlomo HaMelech in Shir HaShirim. It is this element which makes Shir HaShirim one of the most beautiful of all the Kisvei HaKodesh because its notion of beauty and of the quintessential bride describes all of Knesses Yisroel in that it includes everyone. It is from here that we learn that each and every Jew is an integral part of the whole of Knesses Yisroel and without each individual part that whole would not be the same. This idea is especially appropriate here as Rashi HaKadosh tells us on the first passuk of the seventh perek of Bamidbar that when Klal Yisroel entered the Mishkan for the first time it was like a bride coming to stand under her chuppah.

The Rebbe concluded these thoughts with one final statement: May it be the will of the Ribbono Shel Olam that we be able to dance once again under our chuppah in the Beis HaMikdosh, she'yiboneh bimheirah b'yomeinu. Amen Amen, kein yehi ratzon.


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