With 176 verses, Naso is the longest portion in the Torah. It is always read right before or right after Shavuot. This is an indication that there must really be something to be learned here.

The Parshah starts with the responsibilities of the tribe of Levi, which includes transporting the Mishkan. Then we have the priestly blessing given by the kohanim. Finally, it ends with the offerings brought by the princes of each of the Israelite tribes at the time of the Mishkan’s inauguration.

Each class of Jews is mentioned with regards to its service in the context of the Mishkan, which binds us all together.

What central lessons can be learned from these three sections—the Levites’ responsibilities, the kohanim’s blessing and the Israelites’ inaugural offerings?

The service of the Levi was manual labor, moving and hauling parts of the Mishkan. This teaches us that even physical work can be holy. We must serve G‑d not only with Torah and mitzvahs, but with our physical day-to-day actions.

We are told that, with love, the kohen blesses all of the Jewish people with physical abundance, grace and peace. At that time he is made to recognize that G‑d loves and values every Jew, in every place and at every moment, and wants only the best for him and her. So must we realize the value of each Jew and seek to have them included in G‑d’s service. We must find pleasure in each other’s good fortune, and seek to help those who haven’t found theirs yet.

It seems that the 12 princes brought the same offering. But if one is to delve deeper into the symbolism of each offering, you will find that what seemed to look the same was unique in meaning, and therefore truly different. This is why each offering had to be separately recorded in the Torah. Though they look alike, they are not. When we do a mitzvah, it might seem that it is the same as the next person’s mitzvah: we both put on tefillin, or we both light Shabbat candles, etc. In truth, we are all different. Though we are doing the same actions, the mitzvahs are as unique as the individuals performing them. No one can do your mitzvah.

So you see, your physical actions are holy, your physical prosperity is cherished, and your mitzvahs are unique. We can’t do without you.

Writing these weekly messages has made me realize that I have my own way of seeing the world. It has made me realize that I have something different to contribute.

Thanks to you, I feel that my efforts are valued, and I feel loved and cherished.