Parshas Naso, which most often is the portion read on the Shabbos directly after Shavuos, begins with the directive by G-d to Moshe to "raise up the head [take a census] of the sons of Gershon, גם הם — also them."

At the conclusion of the previous portion the Torah reports how the sons of Kehas were counted. It now picks up from where we left off in continuing to count the descendants of Gershon and Merari.

Why is there a gap between these accounts?

Why does the Torah add particularly by Gershon that they were 'also' raised?

Reb Leibele Eiger, the illustrious disciple of the holy Kotzker, and grandson of the great sage, Rabbi Akiva Eiger, addresses this issue.

Gershon was the firstborn son of Levi, seemingly destined for the more significant role of attending the Ark and the other holiest components of the Tabernacle. Yet all he was tasked with was transporting the hooks and the curtains, the least sacred of all the components. He was understandably disappointed and felt a sense of rejection.

His very name גרשון — is rooted in the notion of גרש — driven away, as it appears in the first use of this verb when ויגרש — G-d banished Adam from the Garden of Eden.

To this reaction the Torah instructs, נשא — raise up, elevate your ראש — your thoughts in realizing that G-d's plans our deeper than we can fathom. Accept that you are selected for the unique role most suited to you, and 'you also' are adored by G-d himself no differently than those tasked with what may appear to be more worthy missions than yours.

After the high of Shavuos there is often a sense of self-doubt, questioning whether 'I' can really attain all those lofty aspirations that I was inspired to over the Yom Tov. Or perhaps we struggled to put our minds and bodies to staying awake all Shavuous night, discovering disappointment in not quite having risen to our hoped for goals. Discouraged, we quickly slip back into our previous complacence, wondering if this is within our reach.

To these dangerous thoughts we begin with the story of Gershon, who despite his quashed hopes, plunged forward elevating his attitude realizing that 'I too' am the beloved child of G-d, who relishes my efforts; my commitments; my perseverance; my connection, my consistence even it may not match up to our personal expectations of ourselves.

Life's challenges and difficulties often plague us with thoughts of being abandoned by G-d.

Yoel Gold tells a story of a woman whose mother was going through a grueling battle with cancer and its consequences, during the summer of the Covid pandemic. Looking for a quiet spot in the hospital to stifle her angst and frustration with G-d, she suddenly hears what sounds like the blow of a Shofar. Startled back to reality she looks for the source of the sound. She hears a Tekiah, followed by a Shevarim Teruah, concluding with a Tekiah Gedolah. She locates the source, peeking through the door of a room where the chaplain, in mid-July, is dressed in his Kittel, blowing the Shofar. He goes on to explain that he was using his free time to produce a video in anticipation of the upcoming High Holidays to provide some sense of the Days of Awe before the holiday for those who might remain isolated. She thanks the chaplain for what she clearly saw as a Shofar Blast from upon High, bringing her back to her senses, feeling the embrace from Heaven in this most difficult moment.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said: Every day a bas kol (a heavenly voice) goes forth from Mount Chorev and proclaims: "Woe unto humankind for their contempt towards the Torah."


The great Mashgiach, Rav Shlomo Wolbe ponders the value of this voice that emanates that no one ever actually hears. He explains that the all the circumstances of life, that are all ordained from upon High, that arouse frustration within us vis a vis our commitments to our Father in Heaven, is that 'heavenly voice' summoning us to sense His presence, beckoning us to embrace and grow closer — in the image of Gershon — elevating our minds to a renewed sense of worthiness in G-d's eyes.

May we restore renewed faith in ourselves, perforce the realization that G-d is attending to each one of us on an individual basis, prodding us towards inspiring growth and loving closeness.


צבי יהודה טייכמאן