Parshat Naso: A D’var Torah by Natalie Rochman, Rosh Edah | Camp Ramah Northern California

Parshat Naso: A D’var Torah by Natalie Rochman, Rosh Edah

Over the last few months, many of our days have seemed to flow in and out of each other without distinction. The global pandemic we are facing can lend itself to monotony and repetition, accented by more significant milestones and tumultuous moments. I for one have spent most days in a nearly identical, privileged state: wake up, have coffee, work out, more coffee, work, read, and so on. Some days I watch Netflix, or maybe read a book, participate in a protest even, but the basic structure is much the same, especially as a recent college graduate.

Much as days in quarantine can flow one into another without much variation, the chieftains of the Israelite tribes gave offerings to God, one after the other in similar succession. Parshat Naso concludes with God receiving offerings as twelve gifts accepted through the hands of Moses. Though all very similar in content, the Torah still describes each gift separately, as each gift is unique. They are unique because of the significance not for God who is receiving it, but for the chieftain and their tribe. Routine, in gifts or daily activity, the Torah teaches us, promotes a different point of view. It is important in these times to not dwell on the uniformity but celebrate the unique opportunities and perspectives every day provides. 

The opportunity to write this D’var Torah gave me a reprieve from the monotony of quarantined life. This chance, this Jewish moment, has given me the opportunity to think about what it means to do the same thing over and over again. I have found that there is a difference to be found even in those days that seem to bleed into the next. And in that difference, there is uniqueness, something God was able to recognize in the offerings, and something I have learned to appreciate in my own life. I hope others, too, can find Judaism to be a helpful prism through which we can find meaning in our stillness as well as our actions.

Shabbat Shalom!