When it comes to team work and achieving results, no job is menial or degrading. To the contrary
By: Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion is Nasso and it consists of Numbers 4:21 – 7:89. It is the longest portion in the Torah!
Among the many topics covered in Nasso is the counting of the Levities. There were three Levitical families: Gershon, Kehat, and Merari. In last week’s Torah portion, the family of Kehat was counted. Now this week’s reading opens up with God telling Moses to ALSO count the Gershon family.
Why are the Gershonites mentioned separately? Why did God not simply tell Moses to count all the Levites? Why was he told previously to count the Kehatites and then to “also count” the family of Gershon?
The family of Kehat had the job of carrying the primary utensils of the Mishkan (the Tabernacle), the portable synagogue that the Jews used throughout their 40 years of wandering in the desert. They carried the Menorah, the Table, the Altar, the Ark, and so forth. These vessels were holy. Their job was special.
The family of Gershon, however, was given the job of carrying the boards, the curtains, the sockets – in other words, the less holy and less important items. As such, perhaps they felt that they were inferior to the other Levites.
It is explained that by using the words “and also” the Torah is telling us that the Gershonites were just as special as the Kehatites. We should not think for a moment that they were less important because they had what appeared to be a more menial task.
This is a valuable lesson in team work. There are always those assigned with the more prestigious roles and others with the menial tasks. Some roles give a person much honor, and others are barely noticed. But one must never forget that without everyone’s input and participation, the team would get nowhere. Every team member is just as important as the other.
And so it is in God’s eyes. Whether you were carrying the curtains or the Menorah, each component was essential to acquiring a functional Tabernacle.
So do not feel rejected if your efforts do not always reap visible rewards or recognition. In God’s eyes, every good deed and contribution you make to others is valued, holy and essential!
For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below.
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