A lesson from the repetition in Naso

My grandfather's sefer didn't have anything on Parshas Naso. But I did find something on the parsha that is very much worth sharing: Rabbi Frand's take on why all the leader offerings were identical. See http://torah.org/torah-portion/ravfrand-5758-naso/
Rabbi Frand offers an analogy of a string of bar mitzvahs in which each one has to change the menu, which leads to escalation. The same can be said for sheva brachos or even a string of weddings for which each hostess wants her colors, decor, and menu to be at least as good as the one before-- if not better. That leads to inevitable upmanship.

Rabbi Frand then returns to the thinking of the second Nasi:
The Medrash says that this is what went through the mind of Nesanel ben Tzuar: If I try to do different than the Tribe of Yehudah, if I try to ‘one-up’ Nachshon ben Aminadav, then the Nasi after me and the Nasi after him will face a spiral of escalating sacrifices, escalating costs, until day 12. Imagine what the Nasi will have to bring by then!
Nesanel ben Tzuar reasoned as follows: We know our own nature. Everyone will argue that his offering was better. This will lead to Lashon Hara and hatred and jealousy. We know our nature.
So, Nesanel ben Tzuar did a tremendous thing. He brought _exactly_ the same offering. He set the tone — everyone is the same.
The tremendous insight here was not just that Nesanel ben Tzuar figured ou this own tribe's associations with the exact same offering but that he kep it equal, turning the opportunity to outdo the other guy into one that fostered community rather than competition. As Rabbi Frand explains, though each offering was that of an individual, and as such, should not have been doche Shabbos, like a communal offering, in this case it was:

this was a Korban Yachid (Private Offering) that was infused with the spirit of a Korban Tzibur (Public Offering). It was a Korban Yachid that was brought to keep the Tzibur intact. G-d said — as it were — “For Me, this is considered a Communal Offering.”
There is a great ethical lesson here. This teaches us the importance of communal unity and the importance of communal peace. We see what G-d’s response is to one who does things to promote such peace, unity, and harmony. A person that keeps a Tzibur together is one who brings merit to the masses in a most distinguished fashion and who merits many wonderful things for himself as well. 
Certainly, that is something to remember when we plan simchos. Are we raising the bar for the gashmiyus -- the food, docor, entertainment, clothes, etc.-- or for ruchniyo -- the spiritual elevation to be found in finding meaning within, an emphasis on what's we're thinking rather than what we show.
 
 


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