Dvar Torah Parshat Naso 5771 2011

There are three prohibitions placed upon a Nazir or Nasserite. He may not drink wine or any beverage derived from grapes; he may not cut his hair; and he may not become Tammeh or spiritually defiled. (Num. 6,4-6)

In keeping with this passage the theme of the Haftarah is about the prediction of the birth of Samson who was to be a modified form of a Nazir all his life. An angel appears to the future mother and directs her to keep the laws of the Nazir during her pregnancy for her son will be a Nazir all his life, beginning in the womb. The wife’s husband, Mano’ach, prayed to Hashem to send the angel again. The famous Malbin commentary explains that he felt the instructions to keep the laws of the Nazir given to the mother pertained to her and not the future child. He was interested in how the child should be treated.

The story continues to tell us that his prayer was answered and the angel did appear again and was asked about the duties of the child. The angel repeats what he told the mother. He does not directly answer Mano’ach’s request.

Rabbi Soloveitchik asks what was accomplished by the second appearance of the angel. He answers in the name of his grandfather, Rabbi Chaim, that the angel was telling the husband that the child was to be a Nazir even before he was born. He was sanctified while still in the womb. Reaffirming what he had told the child’s mother.

In light of what we know today, we understand that a child’s personality begins to be formed even before birth and what the mother does can affect the child.

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