On the first day of the month of Nissan, the Jewish people completed setting up the Mishkan (the Tabernacle) in the desert. The heads of each tribe, twelve of them, dedicated various gifts to be used in the daily service of the Mishkan... The leader of the tribe of Yehudah, Nachshon ben Aminadav, brought his gifts on the first day. He brought one silver bowl that weighed 130 Shekalim, one silver basin weighing 70 shekalim, both filled with fine flour mixed with oil, one golden ladle filled with incense that weighed 10 shekalim, and 21 various animals for offerings.
For the next 11 days, each tribe leader took his turn bringing special gifts. For many fascinating reasons, each leader brought the exact same gifts as the others; the same utensils, the same weights, and the same animals.
But what is most perplexing is why the Torah repeats each leader's gifts? After describing the first gifts of Nachson ben Aminadav, the Almighty could have simply written in the next verse, and likewise were the gifts of the other eleven leaders." Why would the Torah commit 71 additional verses to describe the exact same gifts given on their respective days? The Ramban explains that the Torah did so to give equal honor to the leaders and their tribes. Each gift deserved a separate mentioning in the Torah. Although the Torah is almost always very succinct, to do so here and leave out the specifics of each gift although the exact same as the other leaders, could possibly hurt the sensitivities of the other leaders and their tribes.
Last week, I told a story about the great Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer, of blessed memory. Let me share another amazing story about him that illustrates the high priority the Torah gives to extending K'vod (honor) to others and respecting their feelings.
One night, Rav Isser was learning Torah with his Chavrusa (study partner) Rav Dovid Finkel. They heard a knock on the door and it was someone who wanted to speak urgently with Rav Isser. The Rebbetzin let him in although it was very late at night. Reb Isser greeted the man warmly and they went into a side room alone. After a few minutes, Rav Isser came out of the room in a highly emotional state and was saying to himself, "How could this be? How is it possible to be lenient in this case?"
He then went into another room by himself for some time. The Rebbetzin was quite concerned for her husband's health, wondering what this guest might have said to him to arouse him so. She asked Rav Dovid to go in the room to see how he was. Rav Dovid went in and saw Rav Isser sitting on the bed with his head in his hands deeply immersed in concentration. Rav Dovid sought an explanation but Rav Isser politely told him to let him be alone. Rav Dovid left the room and sat with the worried Rebbetzin. After a short while, Rav Isser left the room and went back to his visitor.
A few minutes later, they heard Rav Isser loudly say, "Such a thing cannot happen! We cannot spill the blood of this Jewish girl!" The door opened and they came out of the room and the visitor said, " So if the Rav thinks this way....and Rav Isser interrupted him saying, " Yes, Yes, there is no doubt in the matter...Mazel Tov and with G-d's help, you will invite me next year to the Bris."
When the person left, Rav Isser explained everything to his wife and chavrusa...He said, "This fellow told me that he recently become engaged to a girl and has just found out that there is a doubt as to whether the girl is able to have children. He came to ask me whether he is still allowed to marry her with this doubt. I initially answered him that since there is a biblical requirement to have children, he cannot marry her, but I said that I wanted to think about it further. I left the room to concentrate in private and then decided that he should go ahead with the marriage.
My reasoning was that if he annuls the engagement, it would cause tremendous embarrassment and pain to this girl. And we know that embarrassing another person is tantamount to murder which is also a biblical violation. It was a very difficult decision to make, but in the end I told him to not annul the engagement and with G-d's help he will invite me to the Bris the following year."
The fellow listened to the Rav and married the woman. Sure enough, a year later, his wife had a baby boy, and they invited Rav Isser to be the sandek at the Bris.
As great as our Torah sages are in Torah scholarship, they are equally so in their feelings and sensitivities to others.
Have a Great Shabbos!