Points to Ponder

Naso 5777

Naso (4:22) – Rav Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi Shlita notes that Naso seems somewhat out of place. Why not use the word Pakod or Sifor which seem more accurate? He answers that Naso implies a sense of pride – of Nesius Rosh – and lest you think that this is a pride that leads to hubris, it is also Gam Heim – they, like the Bnei Kehas do not get their pride in their own sense of self-importance. Rather, their importance comes from the fact that they, like Bnei Kehas have the chance to Serve Hashem more closely by carrying and setting up His Keilim. That is not just an accounting – it is an upgrade in life, worthy of the term Naso.

And from the dust that is on the floor of the Mishkan, the Kohein shall take and place into the water (5:17) – The Gemara (Sotah 17a) explains that the Sotah dust is a Zechus that comes because Avraham noted that he was but dust and ashes. Why the reward of the dust of Sotah for Avraham’s humility? Rav Pam Ztl. explained that humility is that which allows Shalom Bayis to reign. When one is so head strong in a marriage, it often leads to all sorts of difficulties. By leading with an awareness of his place in a relationship – dust and ashes – Avraham demonstrated the ability to put the relationship first which was a Zechus to be learned by his children as well.

Throughout the days of his Nezirus he is a Kadosh (6:5) – Rav Nissan Alpert ztl. explained that the Nazir’s Kedusha is a Kedushas HaGuf. It is for this reason he cannot become Tamai even for a relative who passes. Why? Rav Nissan ztl. explained that when a relative passes, the surviving relatives feel the loss so personally that it is perceived as if a part  of the person himself was taken  -- so strong is the power of Ahava – of love (and parenthetically so potentially constructive or destructive – Kee Aza KaMaves Ahava). The Nazir overcomes the physical bonds of love in relationships and chooses to please his idealism in the relationship with Hashem. For him, there is no ability to sever that relationship though Tumas Meis – since Neizer Elokav Al Rosho – he has chosen to prioritize differently as a Kadosh L’Hashem.

And he shall atone for the fact that he sinned upon the soul (6:11) – Why is the Nazir referred to as a sinner? The Talmud explains that this is because he pains himself from wine. Rav Schachter Shlita notes that in regard to the Rambam, one should proceed in a middle of the road approach to life. Sometimes,  in response to the world, one needs to go to a different extreme. In response to Arayos, this is important. Going to extremes is a rabbinic response to a different extreme. We find the same thing in regard to arrogance and anger.

And he shall grant you peace (6:26) – The famous Birkas Kohanim ends with the promise of Simah. However, in Bechukosai we are promised V’Nasatee Shalom BaAretz. Is there a difference between Sima and Nesina? The Talmud (Menachos 59b) says that Nesina is more long term while Sima is a more temporary granting. If that is the case, why don’t the Kohanim use the word Nesina in their Beracha? Rav Baruch Shneerson , Tchibener Rosh Yeshiva ztl. pointed out that there is an additional difference, Nesina involves a granting from the outside, Sima is a word that implies something more readily absorbed internally. Based on these 2 ideas, Rav Schlessinger Shlita explains that in Bechukosai the Beracha is a peace from external pressure – it is an external one and does not change the attitude of our enemies – just that they do not attack. Conversely, the Shalom of Birkas Kohanim is internal and complete, Sima is more appropriate in this case.

The Nesiim donated 6 wagons (7:3) – Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriyah ztl. pointed out that while the rest of the people were busy trying to build the Mishkan, the Nesiim were busy with its transport. They are praised in the Sifrei for their initiative and for the fact that they came together (2 Nesiim per wagon). Moshe was weary about allowing the Mishkan to be carried via wagon instead of on the shoulders. Only after being told by Hashem it was ok to accept, does he do so. Only then are the Nesiim ready to bring and celebrate in the Chanukas HaBayis.

Haftorah: If you delay me I shall not eat your bread (Shoftim 13:16) – Rav Yitzchak of Vorki ztl. once explained that we cannot stop a guest. In other words, Hachnosas ORchim cannot be fulfilled based on a Mitzva in the Torah (to achieve a merit badge or a check in the column). It is best filled as a Mitzva of Seichel – you should do it properly because it makes sense to do so.