When the Mishkan was finished we read in today’s Sidra that the Nesi’im, the leaders of each tribe brought sacrifices. Every day a Nasi of a different tribe brought his Korban. Each Korban that was brought every day was identical to the one brought the day before and every Nasi’s Korban was like the others. In describing the Korban the Torah repeatedly depicts an exact account of what the sacrifice consists. Twelve times the Torah duplicates the wording describing the Korban although they were absolutely identical. Why was this necessary?
The Midrash Rabbah (Num. 13,14) says that although each of the leaders brought the same Korban their intentions were different. Each had a different meaning in bringing the Korban and each leader gave it a distinct significance.
This has great implications. Many people perform the same act and it may seem that they have the same intentions. Yet we learn here that we must never judge a behavior simply by its looks. There can be vast differences in meaning even in two acts that seem identical. The Nesi’im brought the same sacrifices but each sacrifice had a different implication.
We all know the admonition of Pirke Avot: VE’AL TADIN ET CHAVERCHA AD SHTAGI’A LIMKOMO, “do not judge your friend until you are in his situation”. This means that we cannot always understand the reason for someone’s action.