Naso 5779-2019

"Traditional Judaism: Fundamentalist or Ascetic"
(Revised and updated from Naso 5760-2000)

A Nazirite is not permitted to drink wine or eat anything of grape origin. He is not permitted to cut his hair, and is not permitted to come in contact with the dead. While it seems as if Judaism is encouraging asceticism, it does not. Judaism is a religion that promotes a sense of “balance” based on the Torah’s structure and Divine wisdom. That balance is what is reflected in the Torah’s lessons derived from the laws of the Nazir.

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Naso 5772-2012

"The Most Famous of All Nazarites--Samson"

In parashat Naso we learn of the laws of the Nazarite, a person who seeks holiness. The Nazarite vows not to drink wine or anything derived from grapes, not to cut his hair, nor to become contaminated by coming in contact with the dead. It is for this reason that the rabbis chose the story of Samson, who was also a Nazarite, to serve as the weekly Haftorah, the prophetic message, that supplements this week’s Torah reading.

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Shemini 5763-2003

"Using, Not Abusing, the Sanctified Substance"

The severe punishment meted out to the sons of Aaron leaves us with a powerful reason to carefully study the Jewish attitude towards intoxicants and drugs. Alcoholism and drug abuse is serious business, not something that can be ignored. Wine is a divine gift, and plays a key role in Judaism. Yet, we need to make certain that it is treated as a special gift and imbibed with respect.

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Naso 5760-2000

"Traditional Judaism: Fundamentalistic or Ascetic?"

The Nazirite is not permitted to drink wine or imbibe anything of grape origin. He is not permitted to cut his hair, and is not permitted to come in contact with the dead. It seems as if Judaism is encouraging asceticism. But this is not so. Judaism is a religion that promotes "balance" based on Divine structure and Divine wisdom. That balance is what is reflected in the Torah's lessons from the Nazir.

Read More


0 Comments9 Minutes