Naso – “Take Up”

The Torah reading for this week’s parsha is entitled Naso, which means “Take Up.” It is taken from the book of Numbers chapters 4:21-7:89.

When the cloud moved from one location to another, the Tabernacle also was to be moved. The moving of the Tabernacle was not unplanned work, many instructions were given on how the breaking down, the transporting, and the setting up of the Tabernacle were to happen.

The Levites, who were not priests, were divided into three groups according to the sons of Levi, the Kohathites,

the Ger shonites and the sons of Merari. Each group was given their assignments as to what part of the Tabernacle they were to move.

The workers had to be from 30 to 50 years of age. The ages were the same for all three groups. This meant they would be mature and physically able to do the work.

As we were taught by Elder Goldstine, the Kohathites, the descendants of Kohath, were responsible for moving the Tabernacle furniture:

the ark, the table for the bread of the Presence, the lampstand, the golden altar of incense, the vessels of the sanctuary, and the veil to the most holy place. These were the most sacred parts of the Tabernacle.

The Gershonites were charged with carrying all the curtains and coverings of the Tabernacle. Aaron and his sons oversaw assigning every man his responsibility,

for the Gershonites, the one in charge was Ithamar.

I can almost hear his voice saying, “you take care of that curtain and you that curtain.” Everyone knew his work and there was no confusion.

The Merarites were charged with carrying the heaviest things: the boards and bars, the pillars and bases, the pegs, and ropes. These were assigned to individuals by name to carry.

The total number of Levites involved in this work was 8,580 – or, 2,750 Kohatithes, 2,630 Gershonites, and 3,200 Merarites.

Everything was organized and assigned so that all things could be easily assembled, disassembled, and accounted for.

Chapter 5, the Lord reminded the people of His holiness and of their need for holiness if they were to live near His dwelling place. Purity in the camp was a must.

Anyone who had a skin disease, a discharge, or had become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person was to be isolated outside of the camp.

Also, anyone who had sinned must confess, repent, and make restitution. There had to be separation between the clean and the unclean.

Israel could not defile the camp because the Holy One of Israel dwelt among them.

The remainder of this chapter is about a test uncovering adultery. If a husband had no proof, but believed his wife had been unfaithful, since adultery is a sin against God, and against the covenant of marriage, this had to be dealt with.

Chapter 6, Israel was called to be a holy nation, but there were some men who wanted to have extra holiness and a closer and more personal walk with Adonai. So, they voluntarily submitted themselves to the vows of the Nazarite.

The vows included three distinct restrictions: hair could not be cut; the beard could not be shaved. Grapes and anything that came from grapes, including wine, could not be eaten or drunk. And touching a dead body was prohibited.

The purpose of the Nazarite vows was to raise up a group of holy people devoted completely to Adonai. The most famous Nazirite was Samson, the great savior of Israel and one of the strongest men who ever lived, he was a Nazarite for life – until he revealed his vow to Delilah who cut his hair and he lost his great strength.

This chapter ends with a special blessing given to the priests to bless the people.

May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you peace.

Adonai says, “Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

Chapter 7 deals with the offerings that Israel’s leaders gave after the Tabernacle was set up. Over 12 days, each day a leader of the 12 tribes would give generous offerings to the Lord at the tabernacle.

The things the 12 leaders gave were identical to one another. But “Notice” that every leader’s name and every gift is recorded for us. The holy spirit shows us that divine recognition is given to every individual, devotion, and worship.

A few thoughts:

We need to be like the priests. Who brings God closer to the people and the people closer to God.

We need to be like the Levites. Who labor constantly for the Kingdom of God.

We need to be like the leaders of the 12 tribes. In our giving and worship.

We need to be like the Nazarites. In our zeal, our faithfulness, and in holiness.

Glorious Father, please, never allow us to do anything that would cause, your truth to be over shadowed, your people to be injured, your name to Be dishonored, your spirit to be grieved, or your son to be blasphemed.

May all our laborers be useful to accomplish your will on earth as it is in heaven.