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'איש או אשה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לד

A man or woman who shall dissociate himself by taking a nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem. (6:2)

A Nazir seeks to dissociate himself from an environment which he feels is filled with temptation. It does not mean that he is weak. On the contrary, he is realistic, understanding that society presents blandishments that are not conducive to spiritual growth. The laws of nazir are juxtaposed upon the laws of sotah, the wayward wife. Chazal derive from here that one who observes a sotah in her degradation should prohibit himself from wine by taking a nazirite vow. The profligate behavior of the sotah is reflective of a woman who has allowed her sensual passions to partner with her…

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וזאת תורת הנזיר ביום מלאת ימי נזרו... והקריב את קרבנו לד'... וכבשה אחת בת שנתה תמימה לחטאת

This shall be the law of the nazir: on the day his abstinence is completed… He shall bring his offering to Hashem… one unblemished ewe in its first year as a sinoffering. (6:13,14)

The nazir completes the time limit of his own abstinence and brings varied korbanos. One of the nazir’s korbanos is a chatas, sin-offering. The Ramban explains that the nazir is considered a “sinner” solely because he ended his vow of abstinence. Having achieved such a lofty spiritual perch he should have remained there, ensconced in spirituality. Why did he leave? Why did he return to a mundane life? Once a person takes a giant step forward/upward, he indicates that he is special. Why not stay in that position? Returning is an indication of weakness, warranting a sin-offering. Ish or isha…

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ויהי המקריב ביום הראשון את קרבנו נחשון בן עמינדב למטה יהודה וקרבנו קערת כסף אחת

The one who brought his offering on the first day was Nachshon ben Aminadav, of the tribe of Yehudah. (And) His offering was: one silver bowl. (7:12,13)

Concerning Nachshon ben Aminadav’s korban, offering, the Torah adds the prefix vav, and (and his korban). The vav ha’chibur, connecting vav, is present to connect the word to the previous sentence. Since Nachshon’s korban was the first offering brought by the Nesiim, the vav is superfluous. It should have said simply korbano, his korban. The Daas Zekeinim miBaalei HaTosfos explain that the Torah wrote this way in order to circumvent the possibility of Nachshon becoming haughty due to his being the first Nasi to bring a korban. Thus, the Torah wrote v’korbano, and his korban, as if to say –…

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זאת חנוכת המזבח ביום המשח אתו מאת נשיאי ישראל

This was the dedication of the Altar, on the day it was anointed, from the Princes of Yisrael. (7:84)

The Torah has just enumerated in detail the offerings of each Nasi, Prince/leader. Twelve Nesiim each brought identical offerings. Yet, the Torah chose to detail each Nasi – offering separately. The Rambam explains that while each Nasi brought the same offering, his machshavah, thought – process and reasoning, for arriving at the decision to bring this specific korban was distinct from that of any other Nasi. Their conclusions were identical; their machasvos, however, were different. Thus, the Torah follows the thought process. Why? Does it make a difference how they all arrived at the same decision concerning what to offer?…

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ויעשו כן בני ישראל וישלחו אותם אל מחוץ למחנה כאשר דבר ד' אל משה

Bnei Yisrael did so; they expelled them to the outskirts of the camps, as Hashem had spoken to Moshe. (5:4)

The Sifsei Kohen views this pasuk as an enormous accolade regarding the character of Klal Yisrael. The nation sent out from their camps only those individuals who were so enjoined by Hashem. The zav was sent out only from two camps: Shechinah and Leviah. Machane Yisrael welcomed both him and the metzora, despite the nature of their diseases. They did only what Hashem had asked of them – and no more. They could easily have said, “Why should we allow the zav and metzora – individuals whose illnesses are repulsive in nature and who are ritually contaminated – to remain…

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איש אשר יתן לכהן לו יהיה

What a man gives to the Kohen shall be his. (5:10)

Simply, this means that the man who gives of his material assets to the Kohen is not really giving it away; actually, it is an investment that will continue to give back. Lo yihiyeh, “it will remain his,” forever, in his stead. We have heard the maxim, Tzedakah tatzil mi’maves, “charity protects/saves from death.” It is not as if charity is an added therapy. It is actually a preventative agent that wards off the Angel of Death. It is an added antibody which fights and eradicates the disease which might take one’s life. Why? Lo yihiyeh, “it is his;” it…

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איש או אישה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לד'

A man or a woman who shall disassociate himself by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem. (6:2)

While Judaism does not encourage extremism of any kind, it nonetheless makes provisions for those who desire or feel that they must live outside or beyond society’s conventional norms. Thus, the Torah channels this tendency, as it does with all human drives (and obsessions), into serving Hashem. The case in question is the nazir who has taken upon himself the added restrictions of abstaining from all wine and grape products – fruit products that otherwise have no Biblical or Rabbinic prohibitions placed on them. Furthermore, as a member of society in which almost all public and private celebrations include wine…

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יברכך ד' וישמרך... יאר ד'... ויחנך... ישא ד'... וישם לך שלום

May Hashem bless you and safeguard you. May Hashem illuminate His Countenance… and be gracious to you… May Hashem lift His Countenance… and establish peace for you. (6:24,25,26)

The Kohanim are enjoined with blessing the Jewish People with a three-fold blessing, petitioning Hashem: to safeguard the nation (shemirah); to shine His Countenance on them and grant them chein, graciousness and favor (v’yechuneka); and to grant the third, and greatest blessing of peace (shalom). Obviously, the sequence teaches us an important principle; peace follows after one is protected, both from without and within, from internal enemies and even from himself. Favor is the result of Hashem’s blessing which we earn through the light of Torah. Without Torah, life is very dim; we do nothing but grope from one obstacle…

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ופקודיו אשר צוה ד' את משה

And they were counted as Hashem commanded Moshe. (4:49)

Ramban observes these three families of Leviim were Divinely designated, each family for its individual service. Furthermore, Ramban asserts that no Levi was permitted to go beyond his specific service. He was not to exchange his service or assist in an area for which he was not designated. Once Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania wanted to assist Rabbi Yochanan ben Gudgoda with the doors, and he was rebuked. The latter said to him, “Return! For you are already liable for death, since I am from those who attend to the gates, and you are of those who sing in the Bais…

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ובאו המים המאררים האלה במעיך לצבות בטן ולנפול ירך

“These waters that cause curse shall enter your innards to cause stomach to distend and thigh to collapse!”(5:22)

The parsha of Sotah, the wayward wife, is certainly tragic. Whenever a marriage is broken up due to moral turpitude, it is a stain on the very fiber of our nation’s moral compass. We will not address the sin, but, rather, the punishment. Under normal circumstances, the testimony of a single witness has little to no efficacy. Yet, concerning the sotah’s infidelity, one witness prohibits her from returning to her husband, since there are raglayim l’davar, credible reasons, to believe that the charge against her is true. If we were to put her through the process of the bitter waters, it…

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