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Parshat Naso                                                               June 15, 2019  12 Sivan, 5779
                                                   Rabbi Sacks on Parshat Naso
                     TORAH             Parshat Naso contains the  voluntarily undertaken a higher   in these patterns of behavior
             ARTSCROLL  748            law of the Nazirite – the   level of holiness. The prophet   at least some influence from
                 HERTZ   586           individual who undertook   Amos (2:11) said, “I raised up   the non-Jewish environment.
                                       to observe special rules of  some of your sons for prophets,  The Chasidei Ashkenaz who

                 HAFTORAH              holiness and abstinence:   and your young men for   flourished during the time of
                                       not to drink wine or other
                                                                                           the Crusades lived among
                                                               Nazirites,” suggesting that the
            ARTSCROLL  1181            intoxicants (including   Nazirite, like the prophet, is a   self-mortifying Christians.
                  HERTZ  602           anything made from      person especially close to God.   Their southern counterparts
                                       grapes), not to have his   The reason he had to bring a sin  may have been familiar with
                                       hair cut, and not to defile   offering was that he was now   Sufism, the mystical
                     Times             himself by contact with   returning to ordinary life. His sin  movement in Islam. The
                                       the dead (Num. 6:1–21).   lay in ceasing to be a Nazirite.   ambivalence of Jews towards
                                       Such a state was usually   Eliezer HaKappar and Shmuel   the life of self-denial may
           Mincha               7:00 pm
                                       undertaken for a limited   held the opposite opinion. For   therefore lie in the suspicion
           Candle Lighting      8:09 pm   period; the standard   them the sin lay in becoming a   that it entered Judaism from
                                       length was thirty days.   Nazirite in the first place and   the outside. There were
           Hashkama             8:00 am   There were exceptions,   thereby denying himself some of  ascetic movements in the
                                       most famously Samson    the pleasures of the world God   first centuries of the
                                       and Samuel who, because  created and declared good. R.   Common Era in both the
           Youth Minyan         8:30 am
                                       of the miraculous nature   Eliezer added: “From this we   West (Greece) and the East
                                       of their birth, were    may infer that if one who denies  (Iran) that saw the physical
           Parsha Shiur         8:30 am
                                       consecrated before their   himself the enjoyment of wine is  world as a place of
                                       birth as Nazirites for life.   called a sinner, all the more so   corruption and strife. They
           Main                 9:00 am
                                       What the Torah does not   one who denies himself the   were, in fact, dualists,
                                       make clear, though, is   enjoyment of other pleasures of  holding that the true God
           Beit Midrash         9:15 am   firstly why a person might  life.”               was not the creator of the
                                       wish to undertake this                              universe. The physical world
           Gemara Shiur         7:05 pm   form of abstinence, and   Clearly the argument is not   was the work of a lesser, and
                                       secondly whether it     merely textual. It is substantive.   evil, deity. Therefore God –
           Mincha               8:05 pm   considers this choice to be   It is about asceticism, the life of   the true God – is not to be
                                       commendable, or merely   self-denial. Almost every   found in the physical world
           Shabbat Ends         9:18 pm   permissible. On the one   religion knows the phenomenon   and its enjoyments but
                                       hand the Torah calls the   of people who, in pursuit of   rather in disengagement
           Sun. June 16      7:30/8:30 am   Nazirite “holy to   spiritual purity, withdraw from   from them.
                                       God” (Num. 6:8). On the   the pleasures and temptations
           Mon. & Thurs.     6:35/7:45 am   other, it requires him, at   of the world. They live in caves,  The two best-known
           Tues., Wed. & Fri.                   6:45/7:45 am   the end of the period of   retreats, hermitages,   movements to hold this view
                                                               monasteries. The Qumran sect
                                                                                           were Gnosticism in the West
           Mincha               8:15 pm   his vow, to bring a sin   known to us through the Dead   and Manichaeism in the East.
                                       offering (Num. 6:13–14).
                                                               Sea Scrolls may have been such  So at least some of the
                   Latest Times for    This led to an ongoing   a movement. In the Middle Ages  negative evaluation of the
                Shema/Shemoneh Esrei   disagreement between the  there were Jews who adopted   Nazirite may have been
                                       Rabbis in Mishnaic,     similar kinds of self-denial –   driven by a desire to
           June 15          9:09/10:24 am   Talmudic, and medieval   among them the Chasidei   discourage Jews from
                                       times. According to R.   Ashkenaz, the Pietists of   imitating non-Jewish
           June 22          9:10/10:25 am   Elazar, and later to   Northern Europe, as well as   practices. Judaism strongly
                                       Nahmanides, the Nazirite   many Jews in Islamic lands. In   believes that God is to be
                                       is praiseworthy. He has
                    Next Shabbat                                             retrospect it is hard not to see   found in the midst of the
           Mincha               7:00 pm                            is provided by

           Candle Lighting      8:11 pm                    Great Neck Synagogue
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