Torah Insights for Shabbat Naso
June 6, 1998
Parshas Naso tells of the inauguration of the Mishkan in the wilderness: "It was on the day that Moshe finished erecting the Tabernacle, he anointed and sanctified it."
Rashi asks why the Torah gives credit to Moshe for erecting the Mishkan, when Betzalel and Ohaliev had constructed it. In fact many wise-hearted men and women contributed to the efforts that went into this wonderful, architectural marvel. Why does the Torah attribute the Mishkan to Moshe alone?
Rashi explains: "Lefi shemasar nafsho alav--Because he sacrificed for it." Moshe Rabbeinu was moseir nefesh over each of the many minutiae that came with the construction of the Mishkan. He painstakingly followed the progress of its construction; it is, therefore, attributed to him.
Many times we find this concept in the Tanach. The Beis Hamikdash is called Sukkas David. Though Shlomo Hamelech actually built it, it was David Hamelech who demonstrated the mesiras nefesh to build the Holy Temple.
At a bris milah, Eliyahu Hanavi is represented by the kisei shel Eliyahu. Because he had the mesiras nefesh to make sure that every Jewish child has a proper circumcision, even during times when fulfilling this mitzvah was punishable by death, he is honored at every bris.
And so it is with our avodas hakodesh. Even though we do not always see the end of our work, we must always strive to build, to teach and to sanctify. It is easy to become discouraged in the face of great odds. But with mesiras nefesh, with Hashems help, we will prevail.
The reward we receive might not be in completing our objective, but simply in working toward it. This is a tremendous lesson--to put our greatest efforts into striving for, if not quite reaching, our goals. In that lies the achievement.
As Pirkei Avos teaches, "The work is not yours to finish. But you are not free to neglect it."
Rabbi Edward H. Garsek
Rabbi Garsek is rabbi of Congregation Etz Chayim Toledo, Ohio.
SECOND KESHER SHABBATON
June 19-20, 1998
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