Weekly Reading Insights: Naso 5765

Overview of the Weekly Reading: Naso

To be read on 4 Sivan 5765 (June 11)

Torah: 4:21-7:89; Haftorah: Judges 13:2-25 (the birth of Shimshon, connecting to the section about nazir)

Pirkei Avot Chapter 6

Naso is the 2nd Reading out of 10 in Numbers and 35th overall, and 1st out of 54 in overall length.

Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89) opens with tallying the three Levite families and defining their specific services in the dismantling, carrying, and assembly of the Tabernacle throughout the Jews' desert journeys. Next, Jews with various types of impurities are forbidden to enter different sections of the camp. Then, G-d commands the Jews about the restitution for sinning against a fellow Jew. Also discussed is the command to bring 'trumah'-crop-gifts to the priests. Next, the Torah speaks about the suspected adulteress, the test of her fidelity, and the consequences of her guilt or innocence. The parsha continues to discuss the vows, laws and scarifices of Nazirites. The following verses are the priestly blessing to the Jews (which are recited daily). The parsha concludes by listing the donations and sacrifices that each tribal prince brought to the Tabernacle.


From the holy Zohar, teachings of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (Z:35-65/Naso)

We have learned that Rebbe Shimon said that if these 12 princes hadn't brought up their offerings the world would not have been able to stand up against the 12 princes of Ishmael, as it is written: "These are the sons of Ishmael...12 princes according to their nations" (Gen. 25:16). When these princes of Israel brought their offerings they took the power of rulership from each of them, and this is why the text reads: "One prince to one day".

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From the holy Ari, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria of Safed (A:35-65/Naso)

This, then, is the mystical meaning of the saying "A man only warns his wife if a spirit of purity enters into him", for this [spirit] originates from the [holy] side, that of the supernal [sefira of yesod, identified with] Joseph.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.

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From "The Torah Commentary of Rabbeinu Bachya". (S:35-65/Naso)

Here the Torah teaches that the nazir is on a spiritually even higher level than the High Priest. The High Priest's dominating attribute is that of chesed, whereas the predominant attribute of the nazir is bina, which is ranked higher than chesed in the list of sefirot.

For the full article, click to the "Weekly Torah" section on our KabbalaOnline site.


"The princes of Israel... brought their offering before the L-rd." (7: 2-3)
Although each of the 12 princes brought exactly the same things, the Torah enumerates their offerings separately. This is because the offerings were only the same externally; on the spiritual level, each prince made his offering in a way that was specific to the Divine Source of his tribe, drawing down Divine illumination to its members. "And even today, when the particulars of these sacrifices are read in the Torah, this nullification [before G-d] is drawn down to each and every tribe."
(Likutei Torah)


from the Chabad Master series, produced by Rabbi Yosef Marcus for

www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org


"When a man or woman utters a Nazarite vow... he shall abstain from new and old wine... grape beverages, grapes and raisins." (Numbers 6:2-3)

The laws of a Nazarite teach us a most significant principle about our belief in the coming of Moshiach: Torah law decrees that if one declares on a weekday, "I undertake to become a Nazarite on the day that Moshiach will come," he is bound by it from that very moment.
(If, however, he made his vow on a Shabbat or festival, it becomes operative on the next day, as it is uncertain whether Moshiach will or will not arrive on a Shabbat or yom tov.)
This clearly shows that Moshiach can arrive at any moment, as we say in our daily prayers, "Every day we hope for Your salvation."

(Peninei HaGeula)

[Reprinted with permission from L'Chaim Magazine (www.lchaim.org).]

An essay from Rabbi Shaul Yosef Leiter, director of Ascent

(for a free weekly email subscription, click here) (W:35-65/Naso)

We will read the Ten Commandments on Shavuot (Sunday night thru Tuesday, or thru Monday in Israel), on Monday morning (BE THERE!), when we celebrate G-d giving the Torah to the Jews on Mt. Sinai.

Shavuot and G-d giving the Ten Commandments have a special significance that affects our entire year. The Ten Commandments begin with the words, "The Lord spoke all of these things to say." Many commentaries ask the same question. The words used in the beginning and end of the verse, 'spoke' and 'to say' are used throughout the Torah when G-d requires that the information be transmitted to people who were not present at that specific time.

And yet it is a basic tenet of Judaism that all the Jewish people were present at Mt. Sinai, even the souls of those yet to live, and they ALL heard the Ten Commandments. If so, why do we need the word 'to say'?

Rabbi Dov Ber, known as the 'Magid of Mezrich', was the main student of the Baal Shem Tov. He answers by explaining that the whole purpose of giving the Torah on Mt. Sinai was to infuse the Ten Commandments of the Torah (as hinted by the word "spoke"), into the Ten Utterances with which G-d created the world-"Let there be light", "Let there be a firmament", etc.-(hinted at in the verse by the word "to say").

The Ten Commandments were spoken to the entire world in order to link and arrange them in relation to the Ten Utterances. This is the reason these two words are used here.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains how we can apply this teaching in our relationship to the world and to better serve G-d. It is our job to make the light of the Torah, as embodied in the Ten Commandments and Jewish tradition, to illuminate the physical aspects of the world as exemplified by the Ten Utterances. Religion and the world are not separate (contrary to the belief that when you are in synagogue you act one way, and in the 'real' world you act differently).

A Jew is not only required, he or she is actually empowered, to act according to rules and standards of the Torah in all aspects of life. Clearly, the focus here is not about those things that the Torah forbids, like eating pork or stealing, but rather specifically about things that the Torah permits. We have to infuse those areas with Jewish energy, not to get lost in the physical.

For example, when we eat, to remind ourselves that since the destruction of the Temple, the table is like the altar. When we pray, we are like the High Priest in his intimate relationship to G-d. Even sleep is so our soul can ascend to heaven, to be refreshed, so we can again awake and serve G-d with all of our strength. As Shavuot approaches, let each of us make a resolution to take some part of our lives where the world until now dictated how we were to behave, and imbue it with the light of Torah, allowing us to elevate it and make it holy.

This directive to take initiative is also found in this week's Torah portion. 'Naso' hints to the essence of the entire portion and therefore indicates what is expected of us during the week. 'Naso' means 'to carry' or 'to raise'. This week we are commanded to see ourselves on an elevated level -that we are not just followers, but also leaders.

No matter what a person's current situation, in some area they have the ability to lead, to influence someone else for the good. Just as the poorest person is also required to fulfill giving charity to help another, even a person poor in knowledge can still direct someone else, who is on a lower level, in a positive way.

Similarly, the word Naso, 'to raise', is telling us that when faced with an obstacle, we have the strength of 'Naso'-to rise above and overcome this difficulty. Everything we do this week is with this ability. With this knowledge nothing can stop us from fulfilling our goals!

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach, Shaul

P.S. Please also read my weekly Shabbat Law, below.)

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