TORAH READING FOR 12 SIVAN 5782 SHMITAH Jun 10-11, 2022
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/naso
Naso (נָשֹׂא — Hebrew for “Take a census” or “lift up”) – 4:21−7:89
The Eternal One spoke to Moses: “Take a census of the Gershonites also, by their ancestral house and by their clans.” – Numbers 4:21-22
- A census of the Gershonites, Merarites, and Koathites between the ages of thirty and fifty is conducted and their duties in the Tabernacle are detailed. (4:21-49)
- God speaks to Moses concerning what to do with ritually unclean people, repentant individuals, and those who are suspected of adultery. (5:1-31)
- The obligations of a nazirite vow are explained. They include abstaining from alcohol and not cutting one’s hair. (6:1-21)
- God tells Moses how to teach Aaron and his sons the Priestly Blessing. (6:22-27)
- Moses consecrates the Sanctuary, and the tribal chieftains bring offerings. Moses then speaks with God inside the Tent of Meeting. (7:1-89)
NOTE: Sometimes Parashat Naso is separated into Naso I and Naso II as follows:
Naso I (Numbers 4:21-5:31)
Naso II (Numbers 6:1-7:89)
Judges 13:2-25 [The haftarah is about the birth of Samson, the nazirite.]
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/naso
By: Beth Ellen Young
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Numbers.4.21-7.89
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naso_(parsha)
The parashah addresses priestly duties, camp purification, restitution for wrongs committed, the wife accused of unfaithfulness (סוטה, sotah), the nazirite, the Priestly Blessing, and consecration of the Tabernacle.
Many Jews recite the Priestly Blessing, Numbers 6:24–26, as the first section of the Torah to which they turn after reciting the Blessings of the Torah in the morning. And the Priestly Blessing is reflected in the closing prayer for peace of the Amidah prayer in each of the three prayer services.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
נשא Naso – Numbers 4:21–7:89
Suspicion and Sanctity by Amy Kalmanofsky, p. 815
IN THE OPENING UNITS of the book of Numbers, the Israelites organize themselves for their trek to the Promised Land. Not only must they navigate through the wilderness a group that the Torah claims to include more than two million individuals (600,000 fighting men–plus women, children, and other males), but also they must maintain the proper worship of God throughout their journey.
Parashat Naso (“lift up”) focuses on the Israelite cultic structures throughout the journey. Two detailed administrative accounts frame this parashah: the Levite census (4:21–49) and the record of the tribal chiefs’ gifts for the dedication of the altar (7:1–88). Whereas Leviticus typically focuses on the ritual purity of the sanctuary, Numbers is concerned with maintaining the purity of the camp as a whole.
The Israelites can protect this purity through the service of sanctified individuals like the nazir (6:1–21) or the priests (6:22–27), as well as through responses to threats of perversion, exemplified by the ritual of the wife accused by her husband of adultery (5:11–31). (Rabbinic literature uses the term sotah to refer to aspects of this case, although the word itself–meaning “a woman who has strayed”–does not actually appear in the Bible. This commentary will employ the rabbinic term, which has come to be used widely when discussing this passage.)
The structure of this parashah reflects well the role of women within the Israelite community. Women, like most men, could not be cultic officials–neither priests, Levites, nor tribal chiefs–and therefore they remain absent from the administrative framework of the parashah. Yet they occupy a central place within the religion, either as cause for concern, such as the sotah, or, more surprisingly, as devotional exemplars such as the nazir–the individual who dedicates herself or himself to God. (The specifically feminine form is n’zirah, although only the generic form nazir appears in the Bible.)
At first glance, the sotah and the nazir seem to represent mutually exclusive ends of the spectrum for a woman’s place within Israelite society. A woman could either find herself tottering on the margins of society–accused, vulnerable, and at the mercy of her husband or priest–or she could establish her place among the elite of society by dedicating her life to God. Yet the juxtaposition of these figures within the parashah, and the linguistic links between the passages describing them, together suggest an intrinsic relationship between the sotah and the nazir. Read together, these figures inform, challenge, and broaden our perceptions of women’s roles within the religion and society of ancient Israel.
Another View – by Sharon Keller, p. 836
NUMBERS 5:12–31 DESCRIBES the ordeal of the sotah, the so-called errant wife or “woman accused of adultery.” If a man suspects that his wife has been unfaithful but lacks proof, she is brought to the priest, who puts her through a magical trial or ordeal to ascertain her innocence or guilt. We are not told what brings about the husband’s “fit of jealous” (v.14) nor is the spell-induced outcome for the guilty wife plainly described. The text simply states: “if she has defiled herself by breaking faith with her husband…her belly shall distend and her thigh shall sag; and the wife shall become a curse among her people” (v.27). However, if the woman is innocent, she will be “unharmed and able to retain seed” (v.28). This verse provides the clue to the entire passage; it helps us understand why the husband suspects his wife in the first place, and how to interpret the symptoms that the guilty woman will suffer.
Verse 28 is best understood to mean that the innocent wife will be able to maintain her pregnancy. If so, then the context of the sotah ritual can be seen as involving a pregnant woman whose husband suspects that he is not the father. It is the husband’s distrust of the origin of his wife’s pregnancy that causes the “fit of jealousy.” Therefore, the central issue is paternity: if the wife is innocent and the husband is truly the unborn child’s father, then the fetus will grow to term. It follows, therefore, that if the wife is guilty and the husband is not the father, then the wife will not be able “to retain seed.” That is, the spell of the ordeal will induce a miscarriage: “if she has defiled herself by breaking faith with her husband…her belly shall distend and her thigh shall sag” (v.27). Ultimately, regardless of how we today might assess paternity, in the biblical context an intact pregnancy after this ritual is sufficient proof that the husband had indeed fathered this child.
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 12 Sivan through 18 Sivan, we lovingly remember:
Cousin of Mary Caron, TKH Member
Brother of Jack Farkas z”l, TKH Memorial Board
Mother of Pam Elder, TKH Member and Memorial Board
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, June 10, 2022.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Naso (triennial part) Num. 7:1-89
Time: Jun 10, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Jun 10, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/72510500854?pwd=Z3VQZWF4U1BBZytNYmh3aHFTWkFDZz09
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!