Parshas Naso: The Nazirite Vow - Orthodox Conversion Paste your Google Webmaster Tools verification code here

Parshas Naso: The Nazirite Vow

“Hashem spoke to Moshe saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘A man or woman who shall dissociate himself by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem, from new or aged wine shall he abstain and he shall not drink vinegar of wine or vinegar of aged wine anything in which grapes have been steeped shall he not drink and fresh and dried grapes shall he not eat'” (Numbers 6:1-3)

The Torah here tells us that when a person makes a Nazirite vow, they separate themselves from drinking wine, eating grapes and not coming in contact with a dead body. The Seforno explains that this person is going to separate himself from the delicacies of this world so that they will be totally steeped in Torah and attach to it in the best way possible. The question is why should this be allowed? After all, if we are allowed to benefit and enjoy this world as G-d has told us, why would He allow us to separate ourselves from these permitted things?

It would seem that the purpose of doing so is to limit our desires, thus making us realize the frivolousness of this temporary world and how it can affect us in such negative ways. Normally we would say that these types of things are not good for us. After all, if we want to show how holy we are, wouldn’t we be doing all kinds of aesthetics like by running around in the snow in a tank top and shorts? This is not the way of the Torah since we are obligated to sanctify ourselves by utilizing this world for our benefit. That means when we eat something we are obligated to make a blessing, therefore sanctifying our eating!

In this case, by taking on the Nazirite vow we are trying to limit our desires even from something that is permitted to us. At the same time, this vow is limited to thirty days and then they go back to “normal” life. In Tractate Taanis 11a explains that even when one does separate himself from these things he is called a sinner. Why should this be the case if in fact he is trying to make himself a holier person? The reason is because when we separate from things that are permitted to us, we are not going according to the normal way of the world.

G-d allows us to do so and this certainly helps us limit our desires in this world but ideally we should live in this world and sanctify it through blessings that we make and acts of loving kindness that we do. This is even a greater sanctification of G-d’s name when we sanctify the physical world! As difficult as it is to live in this world, we can be incredibly spiritual people if we tap into G-d’s world by keeping His Torah!

May we merit to reach our potential and become the great spiritual people we can be

Shabbat Shalom

About the Author RabbiChaimCoffman

  • Sharon says:

    when we eat something we are obligated to make a blessing, therefore sanctifying our eating! Question: Even an orange? or apple etc. in between or evening snack? I thought it was just after meals and only certain foods.
    Question 2, Is it an obligation to drink wine at all meals. I am unable to drink a lot, I like wine (kosher) but I’m not really a drinker. I’m trying to drink more water. Usually, 2 drinks (4-5 oz.) and I’ve had enough. I get the concept of not letting things be mundane, and should always have G-d in your thoughts.

    • RabbiChaimCoffman says:

      Absolutely, by making the blessings we acknowledge that everything comes from Him, even a banana, even water

  • Becky Salaz says:

    why won’t you spell out GOD

    • RabbiChaimCoffman says:

      The reason many do not is because if it is a holy name, even in english then many hold you are not allowed to erase it

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