Yeshivat Reishit

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Using God’s Blessings In His Service

By: Josh Schulman

If you didn’t know where the Torah discusses the obligation to confess one’s sins you probably would not guess the middle of Parshas Naso. And yet, we find this obligation in this week’s parsha in the context of theft.

The Torah states that “They should confess the sin they committed.” (5:7) Why is the obligation of confession found here in the context of theft and not expressed at an earlier point in the Torah with regard to any another prohibition? Furthermore, why does it have to be connected to another mitzvah and isn’t an obligation in its own right?

The Chidushei HaRim explains that, in reality, whenever we commit a sin there is some element of theft involved. Every individual has been given specific talents, strengths and abilities in order to serve God and make his or her mark on this world. Any time that we misuse one of our God-given abilities to commit a sin, we are, in essence, taking something that was leant to us with very specific stipulations and violating them; thereby stealing. Therefore, it makes sense that the obligation of confession is mentioned specifically here because, on some level, the root of all sin is theft.

At the end of our parsha, the Torah provides us with a detailed account of the offerings brought by the leaders of each tribe in order to celebrate the dedication of the altar. The Midrash explains that although, physically, each tribe brought an identical offering, each tribe had different thoughts and intentions while bringing their offerings and, thus, each one merits being described individually in the Torah.

This phenomenon was not simply a feature of the dedication of the altar. It applies to our daily service of Hashem as well. As mentioned, each one of us has been blessed with certain talents and abilities that are unique to us. Although we all have the same general obligations in our service of Hashem, it is incumbent upon us to utilize our special abilities and serve Hashem with our unique style. Just as the leaders of the Jewish people performed the same physical action in bringing their offerings but each leader gave a distinctly different offering, we too need to find a way to harness our individuality and use it in our service of Hashem. We need to recognize our distinctive qualities and use them in positive ways while avoiding using them for the bad. If we can succeed in doing this then we can avoid “stealing” any of the myriad of blessings that Hashem has provided us with and actualize our potential in this world.

In my time learning in Reishit, I always found that my Rebbeim tried to aid me in finding a way to serve Hashem in my own personal and individual way. May they continue to succeed in guiding all of their talmidim in their service of Hashem and helping each individual in actualizing his potential.