Upgrading the System

Sivan 11, 5782
June 10, 2022
Candlelighting Time 8:09 PM

            The Torah introduces us to the concept of the Nazarite. His commitment entails the prohibition of wine, no haircuts and avoiding defilement from a corpse for thirty days. Upon  completion of this protocol, he is defined as sanctified to Hashem. Apparently, there would be the possibility to interpret that this man has certainly dedicated himself to elevate his lifestyle but that would not necessarily mean that his very persona has been altered. Therefore, Meshech Chochmah explains that the Torah is enlightening us that this individual has truly altered his very self and reached a new level of existence termed in the words of the Torah, “Kadosh.”

           Subsequently, since this person has reached such a plateau in his relationship to Hashem and is laser focused on his spiritual ascension, one could fathom that Hashem would protect him from anything that would be a detriment to his endeavor. Nonetheless, the Torah discusses a scenario where he did experience contact with a corpse. We can assume that although the Nazir has attained a spiritual apex bordering on that of the High Priest, there must have a chink in his armor that allowed such an event to occur. Otherwise, this would not have taken place! Perhaps his commitment was not totally with pure intent but with a degree of self-aggrandizement. Even though it may have been totally beyond his control, still at that level of purity he must address the issue and purify himself before he can resume his Nazarite ritual.

            Let us further examine this status referred to as the Nazir and realize that he has only accepted upon himself the three aforementioned prohibitions for thirty days. A month’s long abstention from wine, haircuts and defilement does not seem to be such an extended amount of time. So why do we view this man with such respect and admiration?

            Netziv explains that there are two reasons why someone chooses to become a Nazir. Either to merit Divine inspiration or to avoid an inclination for immoral behavior. Certainly, the individual wanting to become closer to Hashem and become overly enthused to enhance his lifestyle should  be recognized as someone of superb motivation and superior attitude. Equally so, one who is enticed to participate in a sinful manner and desists, controlling his evil inclination, certainly deserves to be lauded and celebrated as an elevated person.

            Hand in hand, the individual of such noble spirit must also realize that extra vigilance is required to maintain his upgraded lifestyle. And should one lose his fostered stature of eminence, although we can certainly forgive human frailty, however, the censure against that person is much greater than for another. And that realization is a tremendous pressure and motivating factor to desire to sustain and appreciate his newfound greatness.

            Although we leave the momentous Yom Tov of Shavuos, we should be cautious to not let Shavuos leave us. The great strides that we accomplished in our Torah study during these past days can give us a reflective and passionate assessment of our goals in life and we have the capacity to perhaps alter and enhance the way we view life and our mission.


The princes of each tribe collaborated as one to bring their sacrifices for the inauguration of the Mishkan. Their respect for each other is noted as each prince’s sacrifice is mentioned. CHOFETZ CHAIM