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Naso(Numbers 4:21-7:89)

Message For Me

Parshat Naso juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated topics: first is the suspected adulterer (the Sotah), followed by a discussion of the Nazirite, someone who vows to refrain from wine.

The Talmud explains the connection: It was the misuse of wine that led to the problem of suspected adultery. Thus, for someone who witnessed that grim spectacle, the proper response is to refrain from wine.

The principle we learn here is that everything happens for a reason. The Almighty is constantly sending us messages, tailor-made for our specific circumstances.

So if we see something shocking or disturbing, or alternatively beautiful and inspiring, we need to ask ourselves: "What is the message for me?"

Now sometimes the connection is not so obvious, and we have to work hard to figure it out. But whatever the outcome, the process of introspection is bound to reveal valuable insight.

Beyond this, we need to take action. We see from the Nazirite that simply witnessing a powerful incident isn't enough to make a permanent impression. Inspiration left in the realm of emotion will eventually fade. Only by concretizing it with action, does the lesson take hold in our consciousness. That's why the Nazirite saw the Sotah, and took a vow.

So the next time you find yourself saying, "That's incredible!", stop and ask: What is the message for me, and how can I incorporate that lesson into my life - by taking some concrete step, however symbolic it may be.

Published: May 30, 2011

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