Musings of an Orthodox Jew

Thoughts on Torah and the Jewish world today.

Pasrhas Naso 5769- The importance of relationships

This weeks parsha describes a number of relationships.  First it continues with the count of the Levi’im, first the Gershonites and then the Merim.  Then we have the discussion of the Sota followed by the laws of the Nazir.  The Parsha closes on the offerings brought by each of the princes of the tribes.  So first we have a count showing the relationship between people, each by their father’s house, in the service of the Mishkan.  Then we have a discussion on the marriage relationship followed by the relationship between G-d and someone seeking to enhance their spirituality- finally we have the relationship between G-d and the twelve tribes as they inaugurate the Mishkan.

What is central in all of these relationships, is the presence of G-d.  It doesn’t matter if the relationship is a physical one or a spiritual one, G-d is present in all of them.  It is also clear that every relationship is important to G-d.  There is no implication of a relationship being worth any less- in fact most of these show the sensitivity and importance of each relationship.  The Gershonites are counted before the Merari because they are the elder; G-d allows his name to be desecrated and destroyed as part of the process of the Sotah in order to reconcile a husband and wife; each of the princes brings their offering on a seperate day, and each offering is mentioned in full even though it is identical to the others.

Perhaps the last illustrates the importance of relationships more than any other- each prince brings an identical offering.  Yet each prince is unique on their day and is mentioned seperately.  Midrash rabbah tells us that though each prince brought an identical offering, each one had arrived at it differently and their reasons for bringing each item were unique.  So it is with relationships.  Each one is unique- from the outside we cannot see intot he depths and uniqueness that exists between people, but it is there.  Outside we see the manifestation- marriage, children, friendship; but the bond is unique in each case, forged differently to different purposes and with different effects.  No one definition or link can be said to define what a relationship is, how it make a relationship stronger or weaker- but each individual defines themselves and their links to others, and to G-d, uniquely.

The message from our parsha is clear- relationships are important.  We do not sacrifice them even for the sake of holiness- the Nazir’s vow is temporary, and at the end he brought sacrifices, including a Korban Chatas for denying himself pleasure in this world.  The sotah when reconciled to her husband is blessed; the mishkan was inaugurated, the Levi’im served in the mishkan and later in the Beis Hamikdash.  Relationships bind us together, create a whole- and if G-d can sublimate his honour to repair a family bond between husband and wife; then we should all be prepared to follow the example of Aharon and not worry about our honour in thw pursuit of repairing relationships and creating peace.


June 5, 2009 - Posted by | Parshah, Torah | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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