Learning Group—Parshat Naso

(Numbers: 4:21-7:89)

(Haftara: Shoftim 13:2-25)

1. [5:6] “…when they do any of the sins of man to betray God.” Rabbenu Bachya (Spain, 11th century) says that any sin that a person does against his fellow is also treason against God. Why is doing wrong to a person a betrayal of God?

2. [5:7] “And they will confess the sins that they did…” Specifying one’s sins through verbal confession is necessary in order to be forgiven by Heaven. Why isn’t it enough that a person sincerely changes his or her behaviour? Why is verbal confession so important?

3. [5:14] “…and a spirit of jealousy comes on him…” When a husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful, she drinks something which tests her faithfulness. One would think that there should be a better way of dealing with this difficult situation. In what kind of a society could this ceremony be understood as an enlightened way of dealing with this difficult situation?

4. [6:25-26] “May God shine his face on you and be gracious to you.” In Hebrew, a number of single things are written in the plural–for example, sky, life, water and others. These seem to be things which are not simple objects. “Face”, in Hebrew is also in the plural. However, it seems to be a simple object. Why is face in the plural in Hebrew?

5. [Haftara: Shoftim 13:5] Shimshon (and Shmuel) were born with the restrictions and duties of nazirim. Their mothers had declared that they would be nazirim. In our parsha, the nazir chooses to be a nazir by himself, and does so for a limited amount of time. Who do you think would be more committed to being a nazir—one who doesn’t choose it and does it all his life, or one who chooses it and does it temporarily?

Commentary

[7:84] “This is the dedication offering…on the day it was anointed”.

[7:88] “This is the dedication offering…after it was anointed”.

When one begins to get involved with God and with Torah, one feels an awakening, a renewal and an elevation. After a while, however, the freshness begins to wear off. One must try to keep the clarity of the beginning forever. One must always return to the original light that one had when one first started getting involved with Torah. — R. Avraham Mordechai Alter of Ger (1866-1948)

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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