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HOLIDAY OF SHAVUOT /  PARSHAT NASO

 

Shavuot begins this Sunday evening (May 16) and continues through Monday and Tuesday. Akdamut is read on the first day and Megillat Ruth and Yizkor are on the next day.

 

Be sure to experience the receiving of the Torah by hearing the Ten Commandments read in shul on Monday morning.

 

If a person were to pass by a Reform Temple in Hollywood and then visit a Hasidic Shtible (Shul - Synagogue) in Brooklyn, he would find few similarities.

 

The Temple, no doubt, would be an impressive edifice with marble columns and wooden pews while the little basement Shul in Brooklyn would likely contain folding tables, chairs and a Rabbi who doesn't play the guitar. However, if you search hard enough you will find one object in each building that is exactly the same.

 

Look carefully and you will see the one item that transcends all the furniture, the seating arrangements and even the prayers. Inside the Holy Ark is a TORAH SCROLL and every Torah on earth is identical: word for word, letter by letter.

 

Apparently, your ancestors thought that it was crucial to preserve our Torah in its original form so that you would have it today. They carefully passed it along from generation to generation, studying its words and living by its commandments.

 

As we approach the Holiday of Shavuot and we reaffirm our acceptance of the Torah, it is important to remember that it is the Torah that unites our People. Just as the Torah was given in the desert where no one could claim the territory as their own, so too does Torah belong to each of us equally.

 

Just as a TORAH SCROLL is considered complete only when every letter is intact, so too will our Nation be united when we reach out to others with the sweetness of Torah.

 

Remember, the Torah is our instruction manual for successful living and the Mitzvot are the tools! Use them well to build a holy dwelling for Hashem and you will be building one for yourself, as well.

 

PARSHAT NASO

 

Our Parshah begins with the census of the tribe of Levi. Our sages teach that Hashem often counts B'nai Yisroel because they are so precious to Him. We also learn how to count our blessings and make them last.

 

..."MAY HASHEM BLESS YOU AND GUARD YOU"...

Parshat Naso, which is the longest weekly Torah portion and contains the Birkat Kohanim, the priestly blessings.

 

The Kohanim have the privilege and responsibility of blessing B'nai Yisroel in the Bait Hamikdash as well as in the Synagogue today. This beautiful blessing is divided into three phrases and contains only fifteen words. Check the Book of Bamidbar, chapter 6, verses 24, 25, and 26. In addition to the Duchan service on Holidays, we also recite these words in our daily prayers. They serve to remind us each day, where all blessings come from.

 

You will notice that although we refer to these blessings as "Birkat Kohanim" - the blessings of the Kohanim, they do not bless us in their own name but in the Name of Hashem. The Kohain merely acts as a conduit through which blessings are received.

 

Why is it necessary to add the phrase "guard you" when Hashem has already "blessed you"? What more could one want than the blessings of Hashem?

 

While it is the ultimate need of a person to be blessed by Hashem, one must also learn to recognize and appreciate that blessing.

 

Our sages explain that we need Hashem to safeguard all our blessings of: health, children, prosperity, etc., so that we never lose them. Material blessings are so fragile and subject to danger that we need an extra "umbrella" blessing just to preserve all the other blessings!

 

The best way to obtain this special blessing is to use the blessings you already have - in the service of Hashem - through Torah and Mitzvot. Preserve your wealth by giving to the poor; insure your health by helping those in need; guarantee your children's success by encouraging other children; etc.

 

Many people may offer you assurances of wealth and prosperity, but only Hashem can guarantee that your blessings will last.

 

Kol Tov!  Our best to you...it's all good.

Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom, CM

 

 

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Our Parshah mentions that Hashem counted the tribe of Levi? What was so special about that tribe?




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