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Naso Summaries

Naso 5777-2017

“G-d’s Gift of a Second Chance”

G-d instructed Moses to command the People of Israel to purify the camp by expelling those Israelites who were impure. The Midrash maintains that those expelled were rebellious and ungrateful people who had been previously healed by G-d, and rejected G-d to embrace the Golden Calf.

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Naso 5776-2016

“Reflections on the Meaning of Peace”

The Birkat Kohanim, the threefold priestly blessing, was one of the most impressive features of the ancient Temple service. The ultimate of the three blessings was the blessing of peace.

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Naso 5775-2015

“The Fine Nuances of Jealousy”

Even negative attributes, such as jealousy, have their redeeming moments.

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Naso 5774-2014

“The Gift that Keeps On Giving”

It is often maintained that a civilization is measured by how it treats its weakest members. The Divine system of accountability for caring for the needy and the defenseless is boldly enunciated in a seemingly “innocuous” group of verses in parashat Naso.

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Naso 5773-2013

“Playing the Subordinate Role: A Lesson from the Levites”

The commentators suggest that there is much to learn from the Gershonites and Merarites about how a person should view a seemingly subordinate role.

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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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Naso 5771-2011

“Finding Variety in the Seemingly Identical”

Even though, each day, identical gifts were delivered at the dedication ceremony of the Tabernacle by another of the 12 tribal princes, each prince felt the very special individual significance of his own tribe’s gift.

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Naso 5769-2009

“An Extreme Lifestyle”

According to rabbinic interpretation, the Nazirite chooses a path of extreme behavior in order to avoid the temptations that he encounters in everyday life. Maimonides also recommends extreme behavior in order to heal oneself from negative traits. However, the extreme behavior in both instances must never be presumed to be normative. It is the “golden path” and the balanced disposition that must always be one’s goal.

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Naso 5768-2008

“Carrying the Ark”

In parashat Naso we learn that the family of Kehat was required to carry the holiest furnishings of the Tabernacle on their shoulders. This instruction was not merely a recommendation, but a mitzvah that resulted in an unnecessary death in the time of David, when the Ark was mistakenly transported by wagon. It also teaches that the human touch is critical in life, and that technology should not be permitted to replace the always-necessary human relationships with others and with G-d.

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Naso-Shavuot 5767-2007

“Honey and Milk Under Your Tongue”

Based on a verse in the book of Song of Songs, the rabbis compare the Torah to honey and milk. What is the source of the great love affair that the Jewish people have with Torah?

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Naso 5766-2006

“A Lesson from the N’seeim–the Tribal Leaders”

The fact that the Torah dwells at great length on the gifts of the tribal Princes should serve as a clue that there is much for us to learn from this particular Torah portion and from the behavior of the Princes, as well as from the actions of Moses and Aaron.

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Naso 5765-2005

“A Lesson from the N’seeim–the Tribal Leaders”

The fact that the Torah dwells at great length on the gifts of the tribal princes should serve as a clue for us that there is much to be learned from this Torah portion and from the behavior of the princes, as well as from the actions of Moses and Aaron.

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Naso 5764-2004

“Our Brother, Our Sister–the Proselyte”

Parashat Naso contains a special law regarding making restitution to the proselyte–the righteous convert to Judaism. Converts have played, and continue to play, a key role in Jewish life. It is, therefore, not at all surprising that the mitzvah of loving and caring for the convert is mentioned 36 times in the Torah, more than any other mitzvah.

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Naso 5763-2003

“The Hypocrite as Exemplar”

Why is the Torah portion concerning the person who fails to fulfill his religious obligation juxtaposed with the portion of the woman who is suspected of being unfaithful to her husband? From this unusual textual positioning we learn much about human nature. Providing a favorable example is far more impressive and effective than preaching.

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Naso 5762-2002

“The Challenge of the Priestly Blessings”

The issue of whether human beings can encourage G-d to bless them, or if human beings can actually bless G-d, is not easily resolved. One thing we know for sure is that mortals certainly need G-d’s blessings.

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Naso 5761-2001

“The Ordeal of the Sotah-Barbaric or Enlightened?”

The woman suspected of being unfaithful to her husband, the Sotah, and the ordeal to which she is subjected, is rather challenging. However, the ritual of the Sotah reveals many fascinating truths, and provides some important answers to questions with which we are commonly challenged in contemporary marital relationships.

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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.

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