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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Naso

Parashat Naso

Responsibility for Our Society

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Parshat Naso provides us with interesting insights into specific priorities demanded of society. The two issues that are highlighted, Sota and Nazir, provide the backdrop of the priestly blessings and the sacrifices of the tribal leaders brought on the day of the consecration of the altar.

Sota, a chapter dealing with suspicion , is calling upon us to value the contrasting value: loyalty and fealty. The Sota ordeal plays a role similar to the role of the list of penalties proscribed in the Torah for various transgressions. The purpose is to demonstrate the seriousness and magnitude of acts that affect not only the individual, but the family, society and the nation as a whole.

Nazir, asceticism in pursuit of sanctity, is highlighted in order to project the idea of man’s ownership and responsibility of his own actions. It is man, on his own initiative, who takes a step in order to raise his spiritual level.

Sota, is society’s response to filial discord and suspicion while Nazir is the individual’s initiative, in response to earlier failings. Both issues are instilling strength by maintaining that both society and the individual have the ability of controlling their moral destiny even in situations where there are failures and setbacks.

National success is guaranteed when the individual assumes responsibility on his moral behavior and when society does not ignore the deterioration of morals within the family unit.

And so, it is very appropriate that after highlighting Sota, society’s response to suspicion and Nazir, the individual obligation of moral responsibility, the Torah then provides us with the blessing for the Nation:

וישמרך – Security, ויחונך – Educational and Moral Enhancement and שלום – Peace.

The Almighty provides us with security and peace when we take responsibility as individuals and as society for our own ethical and moral behavior. Moral initiative and consistency are the building blocks of the Jewish Nation and its success. Israel today, in search of security and peace, is able to rely on the very clear prescription set out in Parshat Naso. Our prayers in Israel are consistently for "Veyasem Lecha Shalom".


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