• Gabbai

Naso – Reverse Hotel California

The following words of Torah were delivered by Dr. Russell Harding on Shabbat, 25 May 2018:

Of the 18 Mitzvot in Parashat Naso, ten concern the nazir. Two are obligations, including growing hair and shaving and cutting hair at the end of the nazir period. Eight are prohibitions, not to: drink wine; eat fresh grapes; eat raisins; eat grape seeds; eat grape skins; shave hair during the nazir period; become tamei from a corpse. The verses explain the procedure:

“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: If a man or a woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a nazir to abstain for the sake of Hashem, he is to abstain from wine and aged wine, he may not drink wine vinegar or aged wine vinegar, nor may he drink anything infused with grapes and he may not eat fresh or dried grapes.” (Numbers 6:2-3).

What does it mean “to abstain for the sake of Hashem?” Shimon HaTzaddik, High Priest in the early second commonwealth, is quoted as saying: “A man came to me from the south with beautiful eyes, and good looking, and with his locks arranged in curls. I said to him, “My son, why have you seen fit to destroy this beautiful hair [of yours by becoming a nazir and having to shave it off]?” He said to me, “I was a shepherd for my father in my town and I went to draw water from the spring and I gazed upon my reflection [in the water. I realised for the first time how handsome I was.] Then my yetzer hara surged over me and sought to banish me from the world. I said to it: ‘Good for nothing! Why are you conceited in a world that is not yours, where your end is to be food for worms and maggots! By the Temple service, I shall shave you for the sake of Heaven!’” I [Shimon HaTzaddik] stood and kissed him on his head, and I said to him, “May there be many nazerim like you in Israel! It is about [a nazir such as you] you that Scripture says: If a man or a woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a nazir to abstain for the sake of Hashem” (Babylonian