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Naso: It’s Not Too Late

וידבר ה' אל משה לאמר, נשא את ראש בניגרשון גם הם לבית אבותם למשפחותם.

“And Hashem spoke to Moshe so to say: ‘Raise the heads of the sons of Gershon; they too are to their father’s house, to their family.” (Bamidbar4:22)

When reading this verse the obvious question arises: What does it mean that “they too” are to their father’s house and their family? Why would anyone think otherwise?

 As we all know, we are now counting sefira, the fifty days between Pesach and Shavuos. Those who are righteous utilize these days to perfect themselves a little more each day, especially in the sefiros(attributes) which these days represent. On the other hand, there are those who count the days, but do not change substantially in any way. As Shavous approaches, they suddenly realize that it is almost time for Kabbolas Hatorah(receiving the Torah) and they are overcome with fear. “How can I present myself on this holy day of Kabbolas Hatorah when I haven’t even prepared myself?” they ask.

 The holy Koznitzer Maggid said that until the final day of sefirais counted, a person can still catch up. “Until the morning of the seventh Sabbath you shall count fifty days,” says the verse. The Maggid would interpret these words as follows: “Until the morning of the seventh Sabbath you can still make the fifty days count! You can still elevate all fifty days.”

 How is this possible? How can we elevate all fifty days at once, if we did not prepare ourselves by climbing upward each day?

 This can be explained with the following parable: A mighty king was about to marry off his son. A date was set and plans were made for a grand and ostentatious wedding. The king gathered his other sons and told them that he would like them to prepare forty nine wagons in long caravan. Everyday, one wagon should be loaded with things for the wedding. This way, the wagons would be loaded within forty nine days, and then the entire entourage of wagons will set out together to the wedding.

Naturally, the princes did their utmost to prepare everything exactly as their father commanded. However, the king’s enemies wanted to interfere with the joy of the wedding, so they waited around the wagons. On the first day, when the princes came to prepare the first wagon, the enemies harassed them until they were forced to leave. They thought that by disturbing the preparations they would prevent the entire wedding from taking place.

Many days passed with the king’s sons hiding far away. A few days before the wedding, the princes mustered up all their courage and returned to the site of the wagons, hoping to at least be able to travel to the wedding with the caravan. To their dismay, the king’s guards refused to allow them entry. “Where have you been until now?” they demanded. “You were supposed to prepare for many weeks. You didn’t fulfill your duties, and now you come as if nothing happened? Who says that you will be welcome at the wedding?”

When the king saw his children being prevented from joining the caravan, he commanded his guards to leave them alone. “It is not their fault; our enemies harassed them. Isn’t it enough that they suffered at the hands of our enemies? Must they now suffer even more by not being permitted to join us at the wedding? The last wagon is still empty; let them help prepare this last wagon and then they will be able to come to the wedding, because what happened was not their fault at all.”

 The same thing happens to us, the beloved children of the King of Kings. We all want to serve Hashem properly, but the yetzer hara prevents us from reaching our true goals. The days of sefira have gone by and we see that we are unfortunately ill prepared for the holy event of Kabbolas Hatorah. The caravan is about to move, and we want to hop aboard. We proclaim that we really do want to be a part of Hashem’s simcha,but we were prevented from doing our duty because our enemy, the yetzer hara,stood in our way.

 Hashem’s response is: “Raise the heads of the sons of Gershon.” The word naso – raise, has the root of the word nesuin,which means wedding. The time of the Great Wedding is upon us, but where are the sons of Gershon? Gershon can mean exiled, so the verse hints at the plight of those people who were exiled from Hashem’s presence. Now is the time to raise their heads, to draw them close and accept them, because “they too are to their Father’s house!” They too want to fulfill the will of the King, their beloved Father, and they too want to be part of the Jewish family. Our enemies stood in their way, but in truth they do want to join the wedding of Kabbolas Hatorah. They belong at the wedding, because they too are Hashem’s beloved children.

 This is also the meaning of Rashi’s comment on this verse: “Just as I commanded the sons of Kehas, who were great tzaddikim and carried the Holy Ark, so too you shall see how the others have joined the Service.” Thet zaddikim always remain loyal to Hashem and do not succumb to the pressures of the yetzer hara. But the sons of Gershon, although not assigned to carry the Holy Ark, also play a crucial role in carrying the vessels of the Sanctuary. Even if they did not prepare themselves perfectly,they should be allowed to join and should be raised up to perform Hashem’s Service. If they will join in the end, all fifty days will be elevated.

 Hashem should help all Jews, even those who are “the sons of Gershon” and have unfortunately been exiled from His presence, that they should merit returning to Him and catch the last wagon. Every person should be helped with all his needs. May we all merit to receive the Torah properly, and to greet Moshiach speedily with joy, Amein.

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