נָשֹׂא אֶת-רֹאשׁ בְּנֵי קְהָת מִתּוֹךְ בְּנֵי לֵוִי לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם (במדבר ) There is an amazing occurrence involving this weeks Parsha. Naso is the longest containing 176 Pesukim. The longest Perek in Tehillim has 176 Pesukim, and Baba Basra, the longest Masechta in Shas, has 176 Dafim. What is the significance of this recurring number? Rav Isbeeז"ל answers there are 22 letters of the Aleph-Beis. This number represents Torah. The natural world (Teva) is always in sevens: there are seven days of the week, there are also Shivas Minim, seven continents, seven notes on a musical scale, and last but not least, the seven seas. Accordingly, eight always represents the world beyond nature (L’maaleh Min HaTeva). Now we uncover the secret of the number 176. When you take the Torah (represented by 22) and multiply by L’maaleh Min HaTeva (numerically 8) it equals 176. Through this number, Hashem is showing us that the Torah is above other studies, it is L’maaleh Min HaTeva.
דבר אל בני ישראל ואמרת אלהם איש או אשה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לה' (במדבר ו:ב) The Torah describes a Nazir as one who separates himself from worldly pleasures, specifically refraining from consuming wine products and haircutting, in order to attain an elevated spiritual level, greater Kedusha. The Gemara in Nedarim, addressing a person seeking spiritual ascension through acceptance of optional fasting, writes כל היושב בתענית נקרא חוטא. It would seem natural for a person climbing the spiritual ladder to take an active role in reaching his goal of spiritual growth, why then, does the Gemara view it so negatively? The Ostrovtze Rebbe provides profound insight into the true intent of the Gemara's statement. The Gemara is not condescending to one who seeks spiritual elevation through abstinence of worldly pleasures. The words are כל היושב literally translated as “one who sits,” meaning he tortures himself needlessly. He is physically refraining from Hashem’s gifts, yet since the message is not absorbed, is considered spiritually inactive, a יושב. Only in such a case is the Gemara critical and stating that he is נקרא חוטא. שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמֵאָה הַקְּעָרָה הָאַחַת כֶּסֶף וְשִׁבְעִים הַמִּזְרָק הָאֶחָד כֹּל כֶּסֶף הַכֵּלִים אַלְפַּיִם וְאַרְבַּע-מֵאוֹת בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶש כַּפּוֹת זָהָב שְׁתֵּים-עֶשְׂרֵה מְלֵאֹת קְטֹרֶת עֲשָׂרָה עֲשָׂרָה הַכַּף בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ כָּל-זְהַב הַכַּפּוֹת עֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה. The Torah tells us that each Nasi brought a set of gifts to the Mizbeach. For what reason does the Posuk mention only the Keilim that held the gifts but omit the seemingly more essential contents of these containers? Furthermore, conversely, regarding the ladles full of קְטֹרֶת that the Nessim offered, we find explicit mention of the contents of the ladles! What is the reason for this apparent dichotomy? The answer requires a brief refresher in Hilchos Kodshim. There is a Halacha instructing that anything made hekdesh/consecrated must be offered on the same day. Violation of this edict results in Lina and the expired offerings become Pasul. Accordingly, the Brisker Rav directs our attention to the גמרא שבועת דף יא. stating that the din of Lina does not apply to the consecration of incense. Knowing this, the Nessiim were not hesitant to preload the incense into the ladles. However, as the Nessiim correctly suspected, Hashem dedicated an entire day to the gifts of each Nasi. Had the Nessiim arrived all at once with their gifts prepackaged, all of the offerings except for those of the one Nasi awarded the first day would fall into the category of Lina and consequently become Pasul. With this in mind, they arrived with the containers for their gifts but left the gifts separate. Only when it was their special day for presenting gifts did they add the gifts to the baskets they had prepared prior.