Gifts of Discernment: Naso 2022
by Adam J. Rosenbaum
Pre-Game Chatter: How do we know when it’s time to put the finishing touches on something you’ve worked on for a while? Are certain finishing touches more effective than others?
With the Israelites finally ready to resume their journey to the Promised Land, one final set of gifts are presented to complete the Tabernacle:
The Pitch: “On the day that Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings, as well as the altar and its utensils.” – Numbers 7:1
Swing #1: “The meticulous repetition of each gift by the Torah is thus intended to underscore an ideal portrait of national unity. Tribal leadership has attained a rare instance of consensus and cohesion. The narrative that follows later in the Book of Numbers recounts the interminable dissension that mars the wilderness sojourn. The fault lines may vary in each new challenge to Moses’s leadership, but the pattern of internal division remains constant.” – Ismar Schorsch, Canon Without Closure: Torah Commentaries
Swing #2: “Scripture here apprises us that all the seven days of consecration Moses would assemble the mishkan every morning and anoint it and dismantle it, and on that day (the eighth) he set it up and anointed it and assembled it and did not dismantle it. Rabbi Yossi bar Rabbi Yehudah says: On the eighth day, too, he anointed it and dismantled it.” – Sifrei Bamidbar
Swing #3: “When the universe was completed, God sanctified it; when the construction of the Tabernacle was completed the Torah also relates that Moses anointed and sanctified it.” – Shenei Luchot HaBerit
Late-Inning Questions: Knowing the rough journey the Israelites would experience in the book of Numbers, does the the presentation of gifts from the tribal leaders feel ominous? Is this the last time the Israelites are unified for a while? How do we deal with a gift that brings up negative memories?
On-Deck at TBT: Join us for a Healing Service in conjunction with our Kaballat Shabbat service, Friday, June 17th, commemorating the shloshim (thirty-day anniversary) of the mass shooting at Tops on Jefferson St. Services begin at 6:00 pm.
The Big Inning at the End: Speaking of gifts with infamous memories, I still have an autographed baseball card of Roger Clemens, an unquestionably great pitcher whose legacy was tarnished by evidence of steroid use. I still don’t know what to do with it.