I am Holy, Therefore I am Different

June 14, 2016 at 10:20 AM , ,

“…All the days of his separation, he is holy to G-od…” – Bamidbar 6:8

כֹּל יְמֵי נִזְרוֹ קָדֹשׁ הוּא לַה’ – במדבר ו, ח

A nazir is an individual who chooses to dedicate himself to G-d, by vowing to abstain (usually for a limited period of time) from wine or any grape products, from cutting his hair, and from defiling himself with the ritual impurity contracted from the dead.

The Torah emphasizes, however, that being a nazir is not just a matter of abstinence. Rather, “All the days of his separation, he is holy to G-d”—the nazir’s vow is a pledge of holiness, in the context of which he undertakes certain restrictions.

This understanding of the laws of nazir teaches us a valuable lesson. The Torah demands that we conduct ourselves in a manner that far exceeds society’s ethical and moral standards. In addition, we are encouraged to distance ourselves from even a faint brush with the Torah’s prohibitions. Now, one way to approach these expectations is from a place of fear and frailty: a person regards himself (correctly or incorrectly) as spiritually or morally weak, and therefore accepts that he must take extra precautions to prevent himself from succumbing to corruption, sin, and immorality.

I am Holy, Therefore I am Different

The ideal and correct approach, however, is one of distinction and pride. Like the nazir who is “holy, therefore abstains,” a Jew must approach the Torah’s high standards and expectations with the attitude that: “I have been set apart by G-d to be distinguished and sanctified; would it be fitting me to behave otherwise? Considering my illustrious lineage—I am descendant of Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel and Leah—how can I compare myself to the rest of society? G-d selected me to receive the Torah. It therefore behooves me to be different, and take the high road in all areas of sanctity and morality.”

—Toras Menachem, vol. 44, pp. 75-79

 

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