Justified Repetition – Shabbat Kodesh Parshat Naso

Parshat  Naso is listing  all the offerings that the Nesiim (Tribe leaders) brought during the dedication of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle).

Despite the fact that each and every nasi brought the same gift, the Torah details each offering with the smallest detail.  Over and over again, the Torah states the name of the nasi and the gift that he brought, although they were all the same!


At the time Rav Yitzchak Elchonon  Spektor served as Kovno Rav, all young men were obliged to enlist in the Russian army.  The only way to remain an observant was to get exemption from army service.

Yaakov, a student who was much beloved by his rebbi, Rav Spektor, applied for an exemption. Moscow did not immediately respond, and he eagerly waited to hear any news of whether exemption was accepted.

One afternoon, Rav Yitzchak Elchonon was studying together with Rav Kamai, the Rav of Mir.  Suddenly, the door opened and a young man stuck his head in and addressed the Rav : “We just heard, Yaakov was granted an exemption!” Rav Yitzchak Elchonon smiled and showered him with blessings. “May Hashem bless you for bringing this wonderful news.  May you merit long years and good health.  Thank you ever so much!”

The boy left very glad that he had made his rebbi happy, and the Rabbis resumed studying.

A few minutes later, another student opened the door. Not knowing that his rebbi already knew the news, he said: “Rebbi, we’ve heard that Yaakov is exempt!”

Rav Yitzchak Elchonon replied with just as much enthusiasm as he had the first time. “How wonderful!” He showered him with blessings as well. “May Hashem bless you for bringing this wonderful news”.

Six times, different boys came in with the same news.  None of them aware that others had preceded him. Rav Yitzchak Elchonon smiled at each boy, expressed his gratitude and made him feel as important as the first one.

My Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Eliezer Schach, went on to explain that the attention to the honour of a fellow person is one of the most important lessons we can learn from this Parsha. Therefore the Torah repeated and repeated each and every Nasi with the same enthusiasm to teach us the importance of respect for the individual.

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Chaim Michael Biberfeld