Parshat Naso – Hair Factor
What do not cutting your hair, not drinking wine, and not coming in contact with a dead body have in common? This is not your everyday riddle, it’s the laws associated with a Nazirite. A nazirite is one who takes upon himself an oath for a month (at minimum) or for his/her whole life, to be a bit removed, as he/she wants to be a bit more connected to G-d. Why would one become a nazirite? It’s probably a natural feeling that some people have. They are living in this physical world trying to achieve some sort of spiritual connection yet, they can’t stand the dogma of religion; they have a yearning for something deeper, the sublime. These are the parameters set by the Torah for those seekers. By being sober, a hippie, and a necrophobic, how does that get one closer to G-d?
Maybe the explanation is: Our religion is one that says we have to make use of our world, otherwise G-d wasted his time in creating the physical. That being said, if one has a desire to cleave to the abstract and esoteric by going off to India and meditating for three weeks, not talking for four, and not eating food for five, all in front of a little Buddha in a cave, he is misconstruing G-d’s will. It’s due to this rule that the Torah framework laid for Mr. Searcher doesn’t include running to the hills. It does say let your hair grow – symbolism for not curbing your soul’s natural desire to reach for and grow in G-dliness. It does say don’t drink alcoholic beverages – meaning your appetite for G-d must be something that comes from a naturally conscious state, as it’s easy to think about G-d while you’re high, but for Mr. Holy it should be a constant while being sober. It does say that a human being that has reached such a high level of awareness and is in tune with a deeper reality is warned not to come in contact with the dead. It’s for the simple reason that he must remember that it’s about being a soul in a body, not about yearning for G-d until one’s soul ascends on high. Death is part of our reality but in its due time, not induced out of a desire to cleave to the heavens.
So now that we know all this, what lesson do we learn as people that don’t necessarily have such lofty ambitions? The lesson I learn from this is – as a regular person action is what counts; thinking about G-d will never have the same effect on our world and ourselves that doing a mitzvah can. I may not be holier than thou, but I was given the power to change the world and help G-d, yes help G-d, fulfill His Will of making this world a place befitting of His Glory.
Let it grow,
Rabbi Mendy Hecht