38 Nasso

 נָשֹא אֶת־ראשׁ בְּנֵי גֵרְשׁוֹן גַּם־הֵם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם׃

Also take a census of the sons of Gershon, by their fathers’ house, by their families.

Shabbat

Name

Parasha

Haftora

Brit Chadasha

June 15 2024

Nasso
“Elevate”

Numbers 4:21-7:89

Judges 13:2-25

John 7:53-8:11
Acts 21:17-32

 

At the heart of Parashat Naso is a repetitive description of the offerings brought by the leaders of each of the tribes in honor of the anointing of the altar. Each prince, beginning with Nahshon ben Ammindav of the Tribe of Judah, brings the same exact offering.

Perhaps this is what Torah is coming to teach us in Parashat Naso. Yes, the technical details of each offering [are] the same. But the feeling and experience behind each offering is particular to each prince. For this reason, each prince merited a full description of their offering.

One of the centerpieces of Parashat Naso is the Priestly Blessing. God speaks to Moses and commands him to communicate the text of the ritual blessing with his brother Aaron:  Num. 6:22–27 Again Adonai spoke to Moses saying,  “Speak to Aaron and to his sons saying: Thus you are to bless the people of Israel, by saying to them: Adonai bless you and keep you! Adonai make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you! Adonai turn His face toward you and grant you shalom! In this way they are to place My Name over the people of Israel, and so I will bless them.”

This blessing is known as Birkat Kohanim (the Blessings of the Priest) that we pray every Shabbat at the end of our services…

The first part of each line invokes the movement of God toward His people, the second, His activity on their behalf . . . God initiates six actions: bless and protect; shine and be gracious; bestow and grant peace. However, the transitional “and” may indicate consequence: blessing results in protection; God’s shining face results in grace; the bestowal of God’s favor results in peace. Thus the Priestly Blessing may actually express three actions. Nowhere do the words that the Priest utter have the force of a blessing, so that they are the vehicle through which the blessing of God is conveyed to the people, their part is to place the name of God on the people of Israel, so that the people of Israel shall be a vehicle for His Divine Presence.

Since Creation, God craved intimacy with humanity. Those who observe God’s yearning love, of course, want to return and proclaim their love back to our Creator.