Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Nasso

The following is a brief summary of some of the thoughts said over by R' Frand on the parsha. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand. 

R' Frand noted that the Parsha contains the Kohain's blessing of Yivarecha Hashem V'Yishmerecha (found at Bamidbar 6:24) and that the Sifra has multiple explanations of the meaning of the pasuk. One opinion states that Hashem will bless you with resources and will protect you from bad things which could deprive you of the resources. A second opinion explains that Hashem will bless you with resources and protect you from the resources. 

Although the first opinion is fairly logical, the second opinion is not readily apparent - why does a person need to be protected from the resources?

R' Frand answered that people sometimes change after they come into money. He gave an example of a certain person who used to routinely give away his money to charity whenever he received money. This became such a "habit" that the Rav in the community needed to warn him not to give away all of his possessions. Yet when the man later became very wealthy he completely changed his attitude and became stingy and miserly. It is this downfall which is alluded to by the second opinion in the Sifra.

R' Frand also made reference to the comparison of the Nazir (mentioned in the parsha at Bamidbar 6:1-21) to the Kohain Gadol (mentioned in Vayikra 21:1-4). Both of these individuals have an absolute prohibition against becoming m'tamei to dead bodies, specifically including close family relations. However the Torah's recitation of the relatives who a Kohain Gadol cannot be m'tamei to includes two relatives not mentioned by the Nazir - the son or daughter. The question is why?

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Yaakov Kaminetsky who explains that generally a bachur (young unmarried male) becomes a Nazir and an older married man would not make such a vow. R' Frand quickly mentioned some sources in Tanach and Gemara which make allusions that can be construed as relating to youth. But he then followed with a sociological argument. The Gemara explains that a person will swear off grapes and become a Nazir because he sees a Sotah in her unpleasant state. R' Kaminetsky explains that a younger man would be more apt to make a life changing vow based on what he observed. In contrast, an older man would be more set in his ways and less likely to vow to change his habits based on what he observes. As the bachur is not married, the Torah did not need to mention son/daughter among the examples of who he cannot be m'tamei to.

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