The portion Naso discusses what to do when we need to correct any negative action we have done. Interestingly, however, this portion then begins referring to just one of the many possible negative actions a person can do: theft. But if this portion desires to instruct us on how to correct any negative action, why speak in general terms, discussing only theft? Why, from all the many negative actions that people can do, is theft chosen as an example?
"Everything is the Creator’s..."
The Sfat Emet, in answering this question, gives us a great insight into all negative actions. He writes, "If a person understands and remembers always that everything is the Creator’s, and the Creator is in control of all creation, he cannot perform a negative action." And this is one of the basic tenets of a true spiritual life, which most of us understand, yet do not fully live. If we did, we would never become upset from any outside occurrences, we would not become sad, or steal, lie, or cheat, because we know that everything is of the Creator. If we really lived like this, we would never be jealous of others, because we know the Creator is in control and what is meant to come to us will.
"The Creator is in control..."
Understanding this, we can try to answer the question raised regarding why, when trying to teach us about the way to correct all negative actions, the Torah chooses theft as an example. It is because the source and basis for all negative actions is a person’s belief that not everything is the Creator’s, and that the Creator is not in control. In essence, when we do a negative action, it is like we are stealing from the Creator; the Torah is teaching us here that the basis for all negative actions is theft - not from other people, but rather, spiritual theft from the Creator.
It is a deep understanding the Sfat Emet shares with us on Shabbat Naso: everything is the Creator’s, the Creator is in control, and therefore, acting otherwise, is as though we are stealing from the Creator. Hopefully, this is a lesson that can be used as a stepping stone for spiritual growth, not just on Shabbat Naso, but always.