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Daily Aliya for Naso, Revii (4th Aliya)

Aliya Summary: This rather lengthy Aliya contains three concepts: 1) The ceremony for the sotah, a suspected adulteress who was witnessed going into seclusion with another man–despite being warned not to associate with that individual. The woman is brought to the Temple. This Aliya of the torah is written on parchment and then soaked in water until the ink dissolves. The woman drinks the water. If she indeed willingly committed adultery, her belly miraculously swells and she dies a gruesome death. If she is unharmed by the waters, she is cleared of any suspicion. 2) The laws of the individual who vows to be a Nazirite. Such a person must abstain from wine and grape products, allow his/her hair to grow, and may not come in contact with a human corpse. At the conclusion of the term of the vow, the Nazirite brings certain offerings in the Temple. 3) The priestly blessings.

From It is interesting to note that the many details of a Nazir’s prohibitions are counted separately among the Torah’s commandments. For example, does it not seem strange that the prohibition of a Nazir’s eating grapes and raisins and grape skins and seeds should be counted separately? In contrast, look at the many examples in the Torah where a large number of details are all subsumed under one mitzvah – building the Mishkan, the melachot of Shabbat, to name just two. Perhaps the answer lies in the usual circumstances of a Nazir. Here is an individual who might be having more than regular difficulty controlling his physical urges. The Torah permits him to take vows of abstinence (which would ordinarily be frowned upon) in order to help him “straighten himself out”. The Torah further “bombards” the Nazir, and his troubled soul, with mitzvah upon mitzvah to scrupulously adhere to. This process will hopefully bring the Nazir back “on an even keel”. (This is clearly an over- simplification of the Nazir issue, but hopefully something to ponder.)