Parshas Naso: What is with the Nazirite vow? - Orthodox Conversion Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

Parshas Naso: What is with the Nazirite vow?

“And the L-rd spoke to Moshe, saying ‘Speak tot he children of Israel and say to them, ‘When either man or woman shall pronounce a special vow of a nazir to separate themselves to the L-rd, he shall abstain from wine and strong drink, nor shall he drink any liquor of grapes nor eat moist grapes or dried” (Numbers 6: 1-5).

The Talmud Sotah 2a tells us that whoever witnesses a suspected woman in her disgrace should withhold himself from wine. We see that there is a direct connection to seeing a sotah (someone who was forbidden by her husband to be a lone with another man) in her disgrace and making a nazirite vow. There are other things that are stronger than wine that intoxicates so why does the Torah single out wine?

Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l in Drash Moshe explains that when a person forbids upon themselves wine it is not because of its potency to make someone drunk as we see that it is forbidden to eat grapes as well even though they do not intoxicate. Not only that if there are intoxicating things that are not made from grapes then they are permitted! The intention is that when a person sees a woman disgraced in this way, it diminishes the sanctity of the Jewish people!

This means when there is a lack of holiness among the Jewish people and everything seems to go to pot then a person has to take on something extra so that they will increase the Jewish people’s sanctity in the world. They would then need to make further fences around the Torah to insure that Jewish people are reaching higher spiritual levels and are able to pass that on to the next generation.

The reality is that we should not have to separate ourselves from things that are forbidden to us to reach a higher spiritual reality. We should be able to live in this world, serve G-d properly the way He wants us to and continue living inspiring lives. If it were only that easy.

The evil inclination tries to trap us all the time so we have to be ever vigilant to fight against its clutches. Making further fences around the Torah to guard ourselves is certainly a good idea as long as it is within the parameters of Torah. There are some who have tried to make inroads by doing things that are taken from other cultures which from the Torah perspective is not only wrong but it looks strange as well.

The only way a person can make these changes is with the agreement of the Torah giants of the generation. Through their guidance and leadership we will surely know how to act and what the guidelines should be. It is of extreme importance that everyone has a rabbi that they can go to for guidance when they have questions. Too many people try to figure it out on their own or think they know better or worse yet go to those that are not qualified to guide them.

May we only do G-d’s will at the highest level which will help us reach our true spiritual potential.

Shabbat Shalom

About the Author RabbiChaimCoffman