Posted by: mosesfromsinai | May 30, 2011

Naso – Count

This week the Torah reading is Naso with a variety of topics.

On Friday it is Rosh Chodesh Sivan, the month the Torah was given in.  Among the topics discussed in Naso is the concept of Nazir, this also is the story of the Haftorah, the birth of Samson who became a Nazir – abstention from wine and a haircut (which gave him his super-like strength).  Generally the concept of Nazir deals with taking an oath to abstain from something that is permitted.

Among the 10 Commandments that were given to all of Israel at Mt. Sinai is “Lo Tachmod” (Thou Shalt Not Covet – your neighbor’s house, his wife, his donkey (Porsche) etc.)  This is a strange commandment when you line it up with Don’t Steal, Don’t Murder, Adultery, etc. – –  then again, if you break the law of  “Thou Shalt Not Covet, you might come to steal, commit adultery or murder etc.

Thus in this 10th commandment we are dealing with abstaining from a type of desire that also deals with something that  is in essence  permitted – you can have a nice home, a beautiful spouse and a great donkey (car).  The problem is in the type of desire or want.  What is behind this desire or want?

We have often heard “If it feels good, do it”.  In some Hollywood movies this is actually the central theme.  In Judaism we are given the concept of not all desires and wants are okay even if they involve permitted objects or activities.

The 10 Commandment spells this out and the Nazir, by taking an oath to abstain, emphasizes this concept.  The Torah may not recommend becoming a Nazir but it does want a person to do what is right and not what a person just wants.  “If it is correct, do it”.  This is the Torah (Jewish) way to live.  Training ourselves to have the right type of desire or want and acting upon it is not easy and perhaps that is why it is the last of the ‘Big 10’.

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