In this Shabbat’s weekly Torah portion Nasso Numbers 4:21 – 7:89, completing the headcount of the Children of Israel taken in the Sinai Desert, a total of 8,580 Levite men between the ages of 30 and 50 are counted in a tally of those who will be doing the actual work of transporting the Tabernacle.

God communicates to Moses the law of the Sotah, the wayward wife suspected of unfaithfulness to her husband. Also given is the law of the nazir, who forswears wine, lets his or her hair grow long, and is forbidden to become contaminated through contact with a dead body. Aaron and his descendants, the kohanim, are instructed on how to bless the people of Israel.

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In this week’s Haftara Prophets reading Judges 13:2 – 13:25, describes the birth of Samson, a lifetime Nazirite. A condign Haftorah for this week’s reading, which discusses all the laws of the Nazirite.

Manoah and his wife, members of the Tribe of Dan, were childless. One day an angel appeared to Manoah’s wife, informing her that she will give birth to a child. This child, the angel instructed, was to be a lifetime Nazirite. In addition, the angel instructed her to abstain from all foods forbidden to a Nazirite — such as wine or ritually impure foods — from the moment she would conceive. The angel further informed the woman that her son will save the Jewish people from the Philistine oppression they were enduring at that time.

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Happy studying!

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