IDF soldiers
IDF soldiersצילום: Courtesy

Yair Greenblum is a Shaliach in Montreal

Soccer commentators say that goalkeepers are always a bit crazy. To jump at the feet of the best shooters in the world, you have to be a bit crazy. In childhood soccer games, everyone always drew lots to determine who would be the goalkeeper because no one wanted to take on this role. Although the goalkeepers in the Temple did not get hit in the face, the Levites were responsible for opening and closing the gates. Apparently, even in the Temple, this was a less desirable role compared to the Levites who sang hymns. In this role, the clothes and hands do not get dirty.

In the army, there are soldiers who are assigned to places they do not want to serve. Sometimes these soldiers are disgruntled, and when students in a particular yeshiva asked the head of the yeshiva what they should do about the unwanted assignment, he quoted them the words of Maimonides regarding the Levites. Maimonides says that the Levites are forbidden to perform the duties of the priests and vice versa, and furthermore, the Levites themselves are warned not to do each other's work, as it is said, "Each man on his duty and his burden." It is clear that there were Levites who resented their assignment as gatekeepers, but nevertheless, they had to perform their duties to the best of their ability.

Parashat Naso begins with the description of the duties of the Levites, with each family having one specific role. The sons of Gershon were responsible for carrying the curtains of the Tabernacle. The sons of Merari carried the boards and pillars. In contrast, the sons of Kohath carried the sacred vessels, the menorah, the table, the ark, and more. Did the sons of Merari envy the sons of Kohath? Probably, but they still performed their duties.

It is desirable to match a person's traits with their tasks. Every framework tries to do this, but there will always be exceptions. It is likely that even in the Temple, there were hoarse singers and, correspondingly, delicate Levites who were in charge of the gates with beautiful voices. The match is not perfect, but this is how life is structured, and each one must strive to perform the tasks assigned to them.

Judaism educates a person to think in two ways. On one hand, they must aspire to realize their talents in the best possible way. On the other hand, the realization of their abilities must be within the framework of values that the Torah mandates. A religious person cannot be a drug dealer or a dancer in a club. Self-fulfillment comes only in the second stage, where one operates within the framework of the Torah, adhering to certain norms and values. A person with a beautiful voice can be a cantor, a person who knows how to write well can be a scribe who writes books with a message, and everyone can find the role with which they can advance their environment.

Shabbat Shalom!

For comments: [email protected]