The Torah instructs Moshe to count the number of men in the family of Gershon of the tribe of Levi and to instruct them that their duties when traveling will be to carry the curtains of the Mishkan. At the end of last week’s portion (beginning of chapter 4), Moshe was told to count the people in the family of Kehat of the tribe of Levi and instruct them to carry the items in the KODESH HAKADOSHIM.
The question asked by many commentaries is why were the instructions given first for Kehat and then for Gershon when Gershon was the eldest. The answer usually given is to show respect for the Aron Hakodesh that Kehat had to carry. That is more important than giving honor to Gershon who was the eldest.
The next question then follows, why was the honor of carrying the Aron Hakodesh given to Kehat and not to Gershon the eldest. Here the answer is given to show that Torah does not come as an inheritance. One must learn Torah himself and earn the ability of having Torah through his own efforts.
From this we learn how important it is for everyone to put in all his or her effort to study and to learn. You can inherit good traits and ability from parents but the knowledge, the information, the facts – these are things each individual must learn by himself or herself. There is no operation to open your mind and pour in the knowledge. There is no pill you can swallow and get the data. Hard work and persistence is the only way to get that.