This weeks Parsha discusses the issue of a Nazir.
When one decides to voluntarily adopt for himself the status of a Nazir, he/she is prohibited to eat or drink grape products (wine,juice,grapes...). One must also let his hair grow long, without cutting it. And finally, not become contaminated to a dead body.
A person that becomes a Nazir without mentioning a time span, it means 30 days.
The Ramah explains
that when the Pasuk writes 'Kadosh YeYeh', the Gematriah of "YeYeh"
He continues and explains that the Torah hints to us that the goal of a Nazir is to be Holy not only in the present, yet also in the future (YeYeh), even after the 30 days.
By one deciding to accept upon himself to become a Nazir, he puts himself on a higher level, he becomes more elevated, more holy. The Torah mentions the laws of a Nazir, after the laws of a Sotah. Many come to explain that this is so, because after one sees what could happen to someone that follows their sensual passions, how much damage it could bring, may bring one to become a Nazir.
This would help protect one from following his passion, and instead to follow ones heart, his spiritual impulses instead. (Artscroll Chumash)
There is a beautiful Mashal brought down by the Magid of Dubno.
For it says in the Midrash Rabah that Hashem told Klal Yisroel, that even if you make a Neder, one is not allowed to do it with an oath using Hashem's name, unless he has all the right Midos, that classifies him as a Yirei Hashem (like Avraham, Yosef...).
He brings a Mashal of two poor neighbors, one was a wood cutter, and the other a robber.
When the wood cutter had a daughter at a marriageable age, he would marry her off, and would make a nice Chasunah for her. The robber also had daughters, yet they were already older, and he couldn't afford to marry them off.
One day, the robber asked the wood cutter, how he was able to afford all the Chatunas.
Explained the wood cutter, "We have a Minhag that on the day that a child is born to us, we take a little box with a lock on it, and each day I place one Agurah inside the box, till the child reaches a marriageable age. There is enough money than available to marry of my daughter with respect."
The wood cutter than advised this method to the robber, to help solve his problem.
The robber laughed at him, for you, it may be a good idea. But for me, I beak open boxes that other people have secured, certainly I could break open one that I myself have secured?
If I would be
desperate for money, certainly nothing will stop be from opening
this little box.
This is the wonderful Mashal to the Tzadik and the Rasha. The Tzadik keeps all the Mitzvahs that the Torah has commanded him to keep. This Tzadik can make for himself a small Neder, of becoming a Nazir, and be able to keep it. He will not break the borders of his boundaries.
However, the Rasha, what good is the oath for him, if he can't even keep the big borders that the Torah requests from him. Certainly then the small ones will be easily broken.
that makes a Neder to become a Nazir, he should be the type of
person that is fearful of Hashem, for they will surely try their
utmost to keep it.
However, when the Torah discusses the case of a Nazir, at times it uses positive remarks, like "Neizer Elokav Al Rosho". (Nezer = crown)
Yet when the Nazir has completed his time of Nazirut, he must bring a Korban Chatas, this seems like the act of Nizirut is negative?
Comes Rav Shlezinger (Alei Hadvarim) and explains that when one becomes a Nazir and separates himself, he can attain some very high levels of holiness, however, this is the easy way. The real way Hashem want's us to attain holiness, is not by separating ourselves from the physical of this world, but to use the physical thing available to us in this world, in order to strengthen ones body in serving Hashem. One must use the physical to help attain a better level of spiritual.
One is commanded to have Oneg Shabbat, to eat meat, fish, wine... on Shabbos.
All for one reason, to help use the physical as a catalyst to reach the spiritual.
As Rav Michel Barenbaum, explains that one who has achieved the required level of self-control, should be able to withstand the enticements of his Yetzer Hara, simply by having an intellectual realization that sin is not worthwhile for him. Yet if a person feels that his intellect may not be enough, he is the person that may need to take upon himself Nizirut. True it is an act of holiness, becoming a Nazir. However, it is considered to be a failure in ones strength over his character control.
The Nazir must also bring a Korban, because he has achieved high spiritual levels, and now he is leaving it. Once he reached such high levels, Hashem expects more spirituality out of him, for the more one is capable of giving to Hashem, the more he is expected to give.
As the Alshich explains that the Pasuk writes that "afterwards, the Nazir can drink wine."
Why is he still called a Nazir, after the 30 day period is up?
So he explains
that even after he has completed these days, he is still supposed
to live on a higher level than the average person. Each person
is required to act according to his potential.
Comes Rav Shlesinger and says that from this we can now understand the Birchas Kohanim that we find further on in our Parsha. When we look at the Berachos that the Kohanim give to the Bnei Yisroel, they seem to all be for the physical, Gashmius. (Rashi on the Pasuk)
For this Gashmius we need the Birchas Kohanim?
So he answers
by bringing the end of the Pasuk, "V'Samu Eit Sheme Al Bnei
Yisroel, V'Ani Avarcheim". That if they, the Bnei Yisroel,
add to these physical blessings, the Sheim Hashem, than Hashem
will bless them. One must take the physical blessing that he
receives from Hashem and attach to it the spiritual. When this
is done, there is nothing wrong with having a lot of property
or other physical goods.
The Ksav Sofer brings down that Veyaseim Lecha Shalom, we learn three types of Shalom.
Shalom Beknesatcha, Beyetziyatcha, and with all people.
Comes the Gemarah in Berachos and says there are three Shalom's that one may see in a dream.
If one dreams of a Kettle, River or a Bird in his dream,, he can expect Shalom.
Comes the Ksav Sofer and explains that these three Shalom's are, Shalom Bayis, Shalom with ones neighbor in his city, and finally Shalom with all people, in the world.
A Kettle or Pot, is something that the whole family eats out of, one plate, we eat out of the same plate. This is Shalom Bayis.
A River goes further than ones house, goes around the city, yet it doesn't go around the world, this is shalom in ones city. This is greater than Shalom Bayis.
Than we have finally, the Bird. It flies wherever it wants to around the world, with no prevention. It has no enemies, everyone likes it. This is what Hashem wants from us, this is the goal that we much achieve. This is the same three Shalom's that we started out with.
Shalom in your Coming, this is Shalom in the Entering in ones house.
Shalom in your Going, this is Peace with others that live with him in the same city.
Peace with all humans.
In this weeks Parsha, the Cohanim were commanded to bless the Bnei Yisroel.
The Leviim are to serve the Cohanim. They are the ones who pour the water over the Cohen's hands, before he blesses the Bnei Yisroel.
The Levi is
the one who washes the Cohen's hands, even if he is a Talmid Chacham,
and the Cohen is an Am Ha-aretz. One should also teach his younger
son (a Levii) to wash the Cohen's hands from the Din of Chinuch.
A Cohen is also
commanded to bless the congregation, even if there is no Sefer
Torah present. Also, when one comes along and says that he is
a Cohen, he is trusted to bless the congregation. (MB 128:1)
In Eretz Yisroel, there is Birchas Cohanim every day (The Sefer Tefillah KeHilchasah brings down an opinion that holds that in Haifa and the Galilee, the Minhag of Ashkenazim, only do it at Musaf, on Shabbos and YomTov.)
While in Chutz
L'Aretz, it is only done on YomTov at Musaf and Yom Kippur.
A Cohen that
already blessed the cong. in a previous Minyan, can still go up
and bless the cong. during the same Tefilah, and there is no problem
in repeating the Beracha. If he doesn't want to bless the cong.
again (he is weak), he should go out of the Shul before the Chazan
reaches Ritzei. (MB 128:11-12).
A Cohen who
has not yet reached the age of 13, only if he knows how to do
the Birchas Kohanim, can he join the other Cohanim in the blessing.
When a Cohen
goes up to bless the cong. he should not be wearing shoes, and
not be barefoot.
Before the Cohen
starts the Beracha, there are two Minhagim of how the Chazan calls
If there is
more than one Cohen:
1) The Shat"z says "Elokeinuh.etc..Cohanim". And then the Shatz says "Am Kedoshecha KahAmur", quietly..
2) The Shat"z
or another member of the cong.(Gra"h), says just Cohanim.
If there is
less than two Cohanim:
The Chazan does not say Elokeinuh... and does not call out Kohanim.
If there is
one adult Cohen and one child(under 13), the M.B.(128:38) brings
down a Machlokes if one can say Elokeinuh...Cohanim. If it is
done, one should not get angry at the Chazan, for it is not a
When the Chazan
reads out the Berachos one by one to the Kohanim, he should not
whisper it, yet say it in at least a normal tone. (Tzitz Eliezer).
The cong. that are receiving the Berachos, should be standing and listening to all the Berachos, with no Hesech Ha'Das.
People standing on the side of the Cohanim, should face them during the Beracha.
One should not
look at the Cohen's hands during the Beracha, rather he should
keep his eyes open and face the Cohen, yet with his eyes(head
facing) looking down.
It is also best
not to say any Pesukim or requests during the Berachos, and only
been brought to you in memory of Yitzchak Ben Natan Newman z"l
(8 th of Sivan 5756)***
(The above is a very partial list of some of the Halachos of Birkas Cohanim.
It should not be taken as Psak Halacha, and a RoR(Reliable Orthodox Rabbi) should be asked for specific questions.)