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Temporarily Overtaken

By: Mrs. Lauren Goldshmidt

When the nazir completes his vow of abstinence, the Torah commands him to appear at the Beit Hamikdash and offer a series of sacrifices. “This shall be the law of the Nazirite: on the day his abstinence is completed, he shall bring ‘him’ to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (6:13).” At first glance, the simple and plain translation of the pasuk seems to be problematic. Instead of saying that the nazir should bring himself to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, the pasuk says that the nazir shall bring “him” to the Tent of Meeting, which implies that the nazir who took the vow of abstinence is bringing someone else to the Tent of Meeting. Rashi (ibid.) is bothered by this question, and comments that indeed the pasuk should be interpreted to mean that the nazir brings himself, and not someone else, to the Tent of Meeting.

The Meshech Chochmah asks:  If the pasuk is in truth coming to say that the nazir brings himself to the Tent of Meeting, why would it phrase itself in such a way that suggests that the nazir is bringing someone else to the Tent of Meeting? He answers that the Torah is coming to teach us a deep lesson in human nature. The nazir was compelled to take a vow of abstinence because he began to overindulge in the empty physical pleasures of olam hazeh. When a person’s neshamah is dominated by his physical body, then he begins losing clarity, and starts to identify with his physical body, forgetting that his true essence is a spiritual godly being. Therefore, he needs to take a vow of abstinence, in order to imbue himself with added holiness and temporarily withdraw from the physical world, thereby enabling him to reflect on who he really is, and regain the true perspective on life. The Meshech Chochmah says that after a nazir successfully completes a term of nizirut, he is able to elevate himself to the point where he can look back and recognize that the person who was once overtaken by the physical pleasures of life was indeed someone else. Now, when the nazir begins his ascent to the Beis Hamikdash to conclude his nizirut, he realizes again that at his core he is truly a pure neshamah filled with unlimited spiritual potential, and he was only temporarily overtaken by an outsider.

After constantly working on ourselves during the 49 days of sefirat haomer we come to Chag HaShavuot, when we receive the Torah and recognize the true greatness of every Jew. May we each be zocheh to take the Kedusha and clarity that we gained during sefirat Ha Omer and Shavuot and infuse it into our every day lives in order to utilize all our kochot to reach our ultimate goals!

Have a Beautiful Shabbat!




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