May 31, 2012
The Nazirite Quest - D’var Torah Parashat Naso
The Torah portion this week, Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89) presents us with the strange and pure commitment of the Nazir, a Hebrew word meaning “consecrated” or “separated” from the community.
The most famous Nazirite in history was the Biblical Samson, arguably the most physically powerful figure in the Hebrew Bible. His hair was illumined by a thousand suns, and his strength was drawn from his direct spiritual connection with God.
The Nazir could be a man or a woman who voluntarily undertook the self-disciplined and self-denying life. The Nazir was forbidden to cut his/her hair, drink wine or have contact with the dead.
Each year at this time when the Nazir presents itself in our weekly Torah readings I find myself fascinated by his/her commitment and motivations of heart, mind, body, and soul. Here are my poetic musings on such a life.
That chasm just doesn’t go away,
We seekers yearn to know You and be near,
We’ll consider any way to You.
We seekers call You by many names -
We Jews have had our ecstatic prophets
We are infinity-seeking,
Some suffer mightily in their quest,
‘O Ecstasy,’ they cry,
Eternal One –
If so, how do we come near?
For me, here and now –
Yes, this must be enough!