Motzei Shabbos: Nasso 5781

B”H

Motzei Shabbos parashas Nasso 5781

A few thoughts, as the Shabbos kedushah diminishes, with the onset of yom rishon: And the evening and the morning were the first day of the week.

In parashas Nasso, the passage concerning the nazir, speaks of the intention of a man or woman to separate oneself to a higher degree of kedushah (holiness), by primarily abstaining from wine and other intoxicants, as well as letting one’s hair grow. The minimum requirement for this endeavor is thirty days; at the completion of the designated term, in addition to receiving a haircut, the nazir would bring several offerings (in Hebrew, “korban”), including a sin offering.


Although there are various commentaries on the reason for bringing a sin offering, this is the one that I prefer above all of the others. Ramban, Nachmanides, comments that the nazir would have best served his own intentions to live in a manner that would bring him closer to G-d, if he remained a nazir, rather than only becoming a nazir for a limited amount of time. For his decision to enter back into the world, where he will once again partake of worldly pleasures, he must needs bring a sin offering. This is the position of the Ramban, one of the most authorative Rabbinical voices in Judaism today; although, he lived in the 13th Century.


How much moreso, today, when egotistical desires, and the profligation of worldly pleasures abound as normative in a modern society that typifies indulgence as the norm? We do not need to take a Nazirite vow, in order to abstain from the abnormal standards of the world; abnormal, because they are mostly antithetical to Torah. However, we can make an effort to diminish the impact of the yetzer hara (evil inclination) upon our soul; rather than tuning into the zeitgeist, I would recommend opening our eyes to the wondrous words of the wisdom of G-d.

Teshuvah (Repentance)

parashas Nasso 5781

Speak unto the children of Israel: When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to commit a trespass against the L-RD, and that soul be guilty; then shall they confess their sin which they have done.”

– Numbers 5:6-7a, JPS 1917 Tanach

According to Rambam (Maimonides), this verse is the basis of vidui (confession), within the context of teshuvah (repentance). “And shall make reparation in full” (Numbers 5:7, JPS). This latter part of the pasuk (verse) denotes reparations made to others, if the aveirah (transgression) is against another person. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for reparation is from the same shoresh (root), shuv (to return) as teshuvah (repentance). Essentially, repentance is a return to H’Shem (the L-RD). “Let us return unto the L-RD” (Hosea 5:15b, JPS 1917 Tanach).

Such confession is a mandatory commandment. How is the verbal confession made? The sinner says thus: “I beseech Thee, O Great Name! I have sinned; I have been obstinate; I have committed profanity against Thee, particularly in doing thus and such. Now, behold! I have repented and am ashamed of my actions; forever will I not relapse into this thing again.” This is the elementary form of confession; but whosoever elaborates in confessing and extends this subject is, indeed, praise-worthy.

– Maimonides, Laws of Repentance; sefaria.org

shiur Nasso 5781

“Speak unto the children of Israel: When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to commit a trespass against the L-RD, and that soul be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done.”

– Numbers 5:5-7, JPS 1917 Tanach

According to Rambam (Maimonides), this verse is the basis of the importance of confession (vidui), within the context of teshuvah (repentance). “And shall make reparation in full” (Numbers 5:7); this latter part of the pasuk (verse) denotes reparations made to others, if the aveirah (transgression) is against another person. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for reparation is from the same shoresh (root), “shuv,” as teshuvah, meaning to return. Repentance is a return to H’Shem (the L-RD). “Let us return unto the L-RD” (Hosea 5:15, JPS 1917 Tanach).

The Mishkan along with the Levitical system of offerings were meant to restore the relationship of the people with H’Shem. A restored relationship with H’Shem begins with vidui (confession), whereby we confess our sins to Him; additionally, we return to Him by not making the same transgression again. We must also increase our mitzvoth, spending more time engaged with godly pursuits, and less time in that which could be considered frivolous.

Unless we are conscious of leading a godly life, we may not even realize that a diminished connection to G-d may be a result of our own lack of mitzvot (good deeds). “Your iniquities have separated between you and your G-d (Isaiah 59:2, JPS 1917 Tanach). In order to experience G-d’s presence in our lives, then we need to approach Him in righteousness. If we have not been cognizant of what He expects from us, then we need to educate ourselves, according to His ways. Now is a good time to start.

dvar Nasso 5781

B”H

dvar for parashas Nasso 5781


“When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to commit a trespass against the L-RD, and that soul be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done.”

– Numbers 5:6-7, JPS 1917 Tanach

According to the Talmud (Pesachim 54a), G-d created teshuvah (repentance), before the creation of the world. This teaching connotes the significance of teshuvah for tikkun hanefesh (rectification of the soul), and tikkun olam (repair of the world). In light of another passage in the Talmud (Megillah 13b), that speaks of the remedy being created before the wound, teshuvah is elevated to a near panacea, capable of transforming lives.

The first person to do teshuvah (repentance), as recorded in the Torah is Yehudah. He publicly acknowledged his transgression, after realising his guilt. Also, King David, upon hearing a mashal (parable) about a rich man who had many sheep, yet, demanded the one and only sheep of a poor person for dinner, was told by the prophet that he was that man. That is how the prophet alluded to David’s sin in regard to Bathseba; consequently, he immediately confessed his sin. If only we had the resolve of biblical proportion to act in a decisive way, without hesitance, in recognizing our trespasses against G-d and man.


A sincere confession is necessary to diminish the influence of the yetzer hara (evil inclination); and, assign past ways of transgression to the past, in order to begin anew (Maimonides). Acknowledging past mistakes, and attitudes, as well as behaviors that are not in accord with a righteous way of living is an act of character, that supplements self-improvement. “And to him that ordereth his way aright will I show the salvation of G-d” (Psalm 50:23, JPS). To be delivered from our nisyanos (trials), requires an effort that is enhanced by G-d’s mercy. He gives us opportunity to rectify our ways through teshuvah, so that we may be reconciled to Him.


Additionally, regardless of any overly harsh condemnation we might hold against ourselves, He will grant us clemency, when we make a sincere confession within the depths of our heart. Yet, if we do not even recognize that we are imperfect human beings, who are subject to stray from the derech (path) that G-d intends for us, then we might continue to be lost amidst a labyrinth of wrong choices, and false ways. As noted in Mesillas Yesharim (the Path of the Just), by Chaim Luzatto, we need to seek the direction of someone, who figuratively speaking, can stand in the middle of the labyrinth and point out the right path. If we seek the wisdom of G-d, then we will find the way. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:6, JPS).

Restoration

B”H

Shiur for parashas Nasso 5780

“Speak unto the children of Israel: When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to commit a trespass against the L-RD, and that soul be guilty; then they shall confess their sin which they have done.”

  • Numbers 5:6-7, JPS 1917 Tanach

According to Rambam (Maimonides), this verse is the basis of the importance of confession (vidui), within the context of teshuvah (repentance). “And shall make reparation in full” (Numbers 5:7); this latter part of the pasuk (verse) denotes reparations made to others, if the aveirah (transgression) is against another person. It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for reparation is from the same shoresh (root), “shuv,” as teshuvah, meaning to return. Repentance is a return to H’Shem (the L-RD). “Let us return unto the L-RD” (Hosea 5:15, JPS 1917 Tanach).

The Mishkan along with the Levitical system of offerings were meant to restore the relationship of the people with HShem. A restored relationship with HShem begins with vidui (confession), whereby we confess our sins to Him; additionally, we return to Him by not making the same transgression again. We must also increase our mitzvoth, spending more time engaged with G-dly pursuits, and less time in that which could be considered frivolous.

Unless we are conscious of leading a godly life, we may not even realize that a diminished connection to G-d may be a result of our own lack of mitzvot (good deeds). “Your iniquities have separated between you and your G-d (Isaiah 59:2, JPS 1917 Tanach). In order to experience G-d’s presence in our lives, then we need to approach Him in righteousness. If we have not been cognizant of what He expects from us, then we need to educate ourselves, according to His ways. Now is a good time to start.

parashas Nasso 5780