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Friday, June 2

The Weekly Shtikle - Naso

This week's parsha begins with the counting of the descendants of Gershon and the listing of their responsibilities with regard to the carrying of the mishkan as B'nei Yisrael traveled, followed by the same for Merari. With the significant interruption of Shavuos, we might tend to forget where we left off. This is actually a continuation of a process that began at the end of parshas Bemidbar with the counting of the descendants of Kehas. The obvious question is why are the three sons of Levi split up? Why are they not all together in the same parsha?


I found the identical answer in the Abarbanel and Ta'ama D'kra. First, it should be noted that Gershon is in fact older than Kehas. Nevertheless, since Aharon and Moshe descended from Kehas, his descendants were given the honour of handling the holiest of the mishkan's vessels - the aron, the shulchan and the menorah. Therefore, it was fitting that they be listed before Gershon. However, the Torah did not want to deny Gershon the honour of the first-born. Therefore, instead of being listed first among Levi's three sons Gershon was given the beginning of a parsha. Obviously, the only way to accomplish that is to split them up.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

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