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Priestly Blessing

The Nazirite Vow: Connecting to a Higher Power

Jews are not ascetics – or at least, so we tend to think....  Parashat Naso gives us laws that lead us to focus on priestly rules and the purity of the Israelite camp. The adjacent appearance of laws on the sotah (adulteress) and the Nazirite invite us to consider the relationship between these two subjects.  

D'var Torah By: 
Balancing Joy and Suffering, Struggle and Peace to Find Holiness
Davar Acher By: 
Rabbi Michael Pincus

These words, ascribed to King David, reflect humanity's aspiration for holiness — k’dushah. 

When I behold Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and stars that You set in place,
what is man that You have been mindful of him,
mortal man that You have taken note of him,
that You have made him little less than divine,
and adorned him with glory and majesty. (Psalm 8:4-6 )

 

Learning How to Say “Sorry”

"It's not my fault!"

We've all said it. It's rarely easy to accept responsibility for the mistakes we make or damage we cause. Sometimes we know instantly we've done something wrong; sometimes it takes time for us to realize the extent of our mistake. But even after that realization, it's always painful to say, "I'm sorry."

D'var Torah By: 
The Silent Third Partner
Davar Acher By: 
Laura Novak Winer

In my teen years, during one of many moments of theological questioning, I asked my rabbi, "Do you believe in God?"

"Laura," he said. "God is, for me, that special connection, that sacred space that exists in the relationship between two individuals."

It seems that here in Naso, this is where God exists as well. "When men or women individually commit any wrong toward a fellow human being, thus breaking faith with the Eternal, and they realize their guilt . . . " (Numbers 5:6). When an individual commits a wrong against another, God too is harmed, experiencing a betrayal, a breach of faith.

Separation and Abstention

In this Torah portion, Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89), we learn about the Nazirite and the Nazirites now.

D'var Torah By: 
Shlepping the Sacred
Davar Acher By: 
Debra J. Robbins

The Nazir reminds us that our task is, as Rabbi Zimmerman explains, "not to separate from our community and people and not to abstain from life's joys but rather to affirm life at its best, to join

A Bag of Bones, Beauty, and Blessing

On the day that the Mishkan was fully erected, the princely chieftains were instructed to bring identical tribal offerings to the Mishkan (Numbers 7:10).

D'var Torah By: 
Pursuing the Common Good after the Collapse
Davar Acher By: 
Jonah Dov Pesner

Rabbi Frishman makes a profoundly important argument at a critical moment of crisis in America and across the world.

The Spirituality of Eye Contact

There are few texts from the Torah more ubiquitous, more universally invoked than Birkat Kohanim: the Priestly Benediction. We Jews use it all the time. At weddings. And bat mitzvahs.

D'var Torah By: 
Extending the Blessing
Davar Acher By: 
Micah J. Citrin

Have you ever had an experience in life that you hoped would never end? Many of us can recall such an experience. We want to hold on to that moment a little longer.

We’ve Got to Stop It

The sign read, "We've got to stop it," and under it a woman sat alone at a table in the grocery store parking lot. The sign also contained the words "domestic violence," so I walked over.

D'var Torah By: 
And Give Us Peace
Davar Acher By: 
Sandford Kopnick

At life-cycle celebrations, many look forward to the prayer known as the Priestly Benediction, Birkat Kohanim, which comes from this week's parashah, Naso (see Numbers 6:22-26).

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