Naso ~ 5772 ~ נשא
The Torah assigns the exact Tabernacle related tasks to be performed by the families of Gershon, Kehat, and Merari, the sons of Levi. A census reveals that over 8,000 men are ready for such service. All those ritually impure are to be sent out of the encampments. If a person, after having sworn in court to the contrary, confesses that he wrongfully retained his neighbor’s property, he has to pay an additional fifth of the base-price of the object and bring a guilt offering as atonement. If the claimant has already passed away without heirs, the payments are made to a kohen.
In certain circumstances, a husband who suspects that his wife had been unfaithful brings her to the Temple. A kohen prepares a drink of water mixed with dust from the Temple floor and a special ink that was used for inscribing G-d’s Name on a piece of parchment. If she is innocent, the potion does not harm her; rather it brings a blessing of children. If she is guilty, she suffers a supernatural death.
A nazarite is one who vows to dedicate himself to G-d for a specific period of time. He must abstain from all grape products, grow his hair and avoid contact with corpses. At the end of this period he shaves his head and brings special offerings.
The kohanim are commanded to bless the people. The Tabernacle is completed and dedicated on the first day of Nisan in the second year after the Exodus. The prince of each tribe makes a communal gift to help transport the Tabernacle, as well as donating identical individual gifts of gold, silver, animal and meal offerings.
MAFTIR Numbers 7:87 – 89 ~ page 601
HAFTARAH Judges 13:2 – 25 ~ page 602
An angel appears before the wife of Manoah of the tribe of Dan telling her that she will bear a son, and instructs her to abstain from strong drink and unclean food. The boy is to be reared as a Nazarite (a subject dealt with in the Sidra) and will begin to save the Israelites from the power of the Philistines. She tells her husband of her experience and in response to his prayer God again sends the angel, who this time is seen by Manoah. The angel repeats his instructions, refuses the offer of food or to reveal his name, and ascends in the flames of the altar on which Manoah offers a sacrifice to God. Eventually a son is born and is given the name of Samson.
Parsha Study Questions
1. “From the age of 30 until the age of 50” infers a mandatory retirement age. Is this fair? Is this accurate?
2. Why does the Torah verse change from the singular to the plural when discussing repentance (8:6-7)?
3. Wouldn’t the erasing of G-d’s name in water be considered sinful (5:23)? Isn’t that why we spell “G-d” without an “o”?
4. If the “Three Fold Benediction” is to be used by the Kohanim to bless the people, how is it that Father’s use it on Friday Nights to bless their children (6:22-27)?
5. If the Kohen Gadol was the only one allowed into the Holy of Holies, then how did Levites (Kehatites), let alone regular Kohens enter there to carry the Ark and its coverings (7:9)?