PARSHAT BAMIDBAR: The Greater the Person is, the Greater the Load he is Given

This week’s parsha delineates the various responsibilities of the Levi’im. “And the assignment of Elazar ben Aaron HaKohein is the oil of illumination, the spices of the incense, the daily flour offering and the anointment oil” (Bamidbar 4, 16). Rashi cites the Gemara Yerushalmi which explains that Elazar was not merely charged with overseeing that the above items were transferred from place to place; he actually carried all of them himself!

The Ramban (ibid.) calculates the enormous load that Elazar carried. The illumination oil for an entire year amounted to one hundred eighty-three lug (a lug is approximately 1⁄2 liter), and the spices for the incense weighed 365 maneh (a maneh is approximately 1⁄2 kilo).

HaRav Shlomo Wolbe Zt”l explains that accordingly, if we would convert the amounts to modern day weight, it would seem that Elazar carried more than 1000 kilo! He was charged with this physical assignment in addition to the other jobs that were delegated to him. These jobs included coordinating and supervising the transportation of the vessels of the Mishkan carried by the Bnei Kehot, which entailed assigning each and every Levi their individual task. The amount of responsibilities Heavenly assigned to a person is in direct proportion to his greatness. The greater the person is the greater the load he is given. How was Elazar able to accomplish all of this? The answer can be found in the above Ramban. The Ramban concludes, “And those whose hope is in Hashem will have renewed strength” (Yeshaya 40, 31). It might be heavy and difficult, but he must bear the burden of responsibility with the knowledge that Hashem delegated it specifically to him. This will give him the strength to endure and succeed.

Rav Wolbe continues that this is something that we must constantly bear in mind. One who is a Rav, a Rebbi, a Gabbai or a teacher might sometimes get overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility he has been given. We might add that in truth every single jew has numerous responsibilities toward Klal Yisrael. These might include raising a Torah true family, helping out in the Shul, donating his time, money or other resources to benefit the Klal or learning with those less knowledgeable than us. Recognizing that Hashem specifically chose us for these tasks, not only prevents us from “throwing in the towel,” it infuses us with vigor and an intense desire to succeed!

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