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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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The Nazirite Vow

The Torah (Numbers 6) talks about the nazir. A man who fears that his appetites dominate his judgment vows not to cut his hair and not to drink wine. Then at the end of thirty days, he shaves his hair off and brings it to the Tabernacle.

What's this all about?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Hair represents sensuality. (Ever see the movie in which the mousy girl lets her hair down and turns out to be Marilyn Monroe?) The nazir offers his hair to God as a symbol that he is sublimating and consecrating his sensuality and sexual energy.

Alcohol also helps us "let our hair down," which is one reason we like to drink. But this guy is trying to get his libido under control, so he swears off wine for a month to help him recover his balance.

The Talmud (Sotah 2a) says someone who witnesses a gruesome death should vow to become a nazir.

Even gruesome sights can become familiar. The first time a medical student sees a cadaver he vomits. The second time, he's less troubled. By semester's end, he eats lunch while he works and makes an ashtray of the skull.

Divorce was once rare. Gradually we became accustomed to it, and now it's commonplace. Because we're no longer shocked, everybody's marriage is less secure. When you hear that someone you know is getting divorced, protect yourself by asking, "How will I make sure that never happens to me?"

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