VOLUME 96 NUMBER 2
May 21, 2021
SIVAN 10, 5781
Candlelighting Time 7:55 PM
The tribe of Levites merited a special counting from thirty days old which automatically excluded them from the general census. Additionally, their counting was for the specific reason to assign them their jobs in dismantling the Mishkan and transporting it to their next camp. Why was there a necessity to count them from thirty days old, after all, they were not going to serve in the Mishkan until they were 30 years old. Rashi in the previous parsha cites the Midrash that this tribe was referred to as the legion of the king, of Hashem. How did they earn this distinction?
The answer begs the question, why indeed were they viewed in such a special light? The Midrash explains that anyone who comes even a little close to the king, the king brings him even closer. When the nation served the Golden Calf, it was a tremendous blemish on their record. Moshe attempted to halt the proceedings and announced anyone who is loyal to Hashem join me. All the tribes ignored Moshe’s call to arms except the tribe of Levites. They all banded together and fought tooth and nail against the transgressors. Hashem viewed their fidelity with tremendous pride and drew them close to Him. He entrusted the care of the Mishkan to them. Although the vessels in the Mishkan were extremely valuable and sacrosanct, they were in charge because they were totally dedicated and committed to serve Hashem even under the most trying conditions.
Truth be told, this is one of the lessons that we derive from the Yom Tov of Shavuos. Although we attempt to excel in our study of Torah and increase our intensity, the theme of Shavuos goes much deeper. In our davening we refer to Shavuos as the time of the giving of the Torah, not when we received it. Possibly, the reason for that is because we must focus on Hashem who gave us the Torah and realize that our thrust must be to dedicate our learning and elevated spirit that we access on Yom Tov to enhance Hashem’s glory and majesty in the world. That is the real objective that we strive to achieve everyday and Shavuos is a culmination of our effort as we climb the ladder of success beginning on Pesach and climaxing on Shavuos.
This important theme that we must have in mind is brought to bear in the blessing before Shema. We say that Hashem loves us tremendously and therefore He gave us the opportunity to learn Torah with passion and delight in order to return His love by associating with His word, the Torah. Rather than focusing on ourselves, we concentrate on fulfilling our main mandate, to promote Torah study which in turn enhances our relationship with Hashem. We recite in that blessing the tenet that we must direct our hearts fully and exclusively to love Hashem. At that point we are ready to accept upon ourselves Hashem’s kingship and the obligation to fulfill His mitzvos which automatically follows.
Although Shavuos has ended, however, the elevated spirit that we merited at that special time still remains with us and we have the capacity to maintain that singular aura if we expend the effort to continuously upgrade and intensify our Torah study.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
The princes of each tribe brought the exact same sacrifices at the inauguration of the Mishkan. Since there wasn’t any competitive spirit but rather a strong desire to collectively bring their offerings as one unit, therefore Hashem gifted them that they were allowed to even bring their sacrifices on Shabbos.
~ CHOFETZ CHAIM