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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Naso 35-4

Lift up

Numbers 5:11-6:27

Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'If a man or woman wants to make a special vow, a vow of separation to the LORD as a Nazirite, he must abstain from wine and other fermented drink and must not drink vinegar made from wine or from other fermented drink. He must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. As long as he is a Nazirite, he must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, not even the seeds or skins. 'During the entire period of his vow of separation no razor may be used on his head. He must be holy until the period of his separation to the LORD is over; he must let the hair of his head grow long.

Num. 6:2-5 NIV

How may a layman achieve the same level of sanctity as the high priest?

The Hebrew word translated as "Nazirite" is nezerנזר  – which means “abstention, separation, dedication, consecration, crown”. The sacred crown that the high priest wore is called nezer hakodesh נזר הקדש  – “crown of sanctity” or “sacred crown”, as it's written in Exodus 39:30: “They made the plate of the holy crown of pure gold, and wrote on it an inscription, like the engraving of a signet, "Holy to the LORD." (NIV).

The nazir has a sign on his head, he lets his hair grow, which is a sign that he is set apart for HaShem. This shows us that there is a relationship between the high priest and the nazir because of the sign of his consecration over his head. The nazir has the same sanctity as the high priest. So, anyone, man or woman, in Israel has the option of dedicating to HaShem and getting to the same level of sanctity as the high priest.

Any israelite, man or woman, has the possibility to dedicate themselves to HaShem in a special manner and reach the same level as the High Priest. Evidently, maximum sanctity is not exclusive to the high priest, but is available to all those who want to live in that level of sanctification, man or woman. What is the price? Sacrifice. And in this case it's not compulsory but voluntary.

We could also apply this principle to non-Jews who want to live in a higher state of sanctification than their normal level. Through voluntary abstention of diverse things, he or she may express their devotion to the Eternal in a special way. Full or partial fasting, extra prayer time, sexual abstinence, certain type of food abstinence, are various ways of setting themselves apart for the Eternal.

This dedication may be permanent, for life, as it was expressed in Romans 14:6 where it's written: “The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” (NIV) This dedication may also be temporary as we see in 1 Corinthians 7:5 where it's written: “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NIV)

One who is not Jewish and decides not to eat animals which are actually not forbidden for him but he does it for the Eternal, is sanctified for his decision, especially when he abstains from animals that are forbidden for the sons and daughters of Israel.



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