Shabbat Parashat Naso| 5764
The Nazir’s SacrificeHarav Yosef Carmel
There is a well-known machloket (difference of opinion) as to the reason for the nazir’s korban upon completing his period of abstinence from wine, etc. (see Nazir 19a).
One approach is that he needs atonement for his decision to halt the practices, whichgave him extra holiness during the period of nezirut. If this approach is correct, then we are in effect saying that the ideal state, which one should strive for, is that of being a nazir. Only as a b’dieved (an after the fact, unwanted situation) is one allowed to follow what we normally consider a normal lifestyle.
On the other hand, others looked at the matter in the opposite manner, and we can summarize their approach as follows. Hashem created man in a wonderful world with many enjoyable things. In this bountiful world, man is to serve his Maker. By becoming a nazir one actually denies the good that Hashem has provided for mankind. Therefore, at the end of the period of nezirut, one needs a korban as atonement for his problematic decision to make himself a nazir.
We have just completed the period of Pesach and Shavuot, and these special holidays may leave us with a message in regard to our present topic, as well.
On Pesach, we were careful to stay away from chametz and ate matza instead. On Shavuot, we are commanded to bring the korban of shtei halechem (the two loaves), which are brought as chametz, as opposed to most meal offerings. Chametz represents the pleasures of life; matza represents keeping things as simple as possible and minimizing unnecessary enjoyment. The order of the two holidays is important. We start with Pesach in order to arrive at Shavuot, and we spend the sefira period working, step by step, on getting there.
Considering that the nazir brings a meal offering of matza, we can suggest the following. There are times that a person needs to “take a break” from a normal life in order to regain his spiritual vitality. During that time, a person may need to separate himself from the wonderful world that Hashem created in order to concentrate on self-introspection and on charting a better course for the future. Through the matza offering, connected to the nezirut, the nazir proclaims that he is starting his development from the earlier stage. By his behavior in that early stage, he is preparing himself to reach an even higher summit, the real life of normal living according to Torah law and values.
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