Questions and Concepts for Parsha Nasso
(Numbers 4:21 - 7:89)
  1. How did the vow of the Nazirite allow the individual to raise his level of spiritual awareness and his connection with God? How did the things he swore to do without make him/her like the High Priest?
  2. Punishments in Torah are usually administered in a "dignified" way as even the guilty are made in the image of God. One way that we are made "in the image of God" is our ability to choose. How does the Sotah (the unfaithful wife of Numbers 5:11-31) lose this image of God? Why is the Sotah the one case were the guilty is humiliated in front of others?
  3. In Numbers 6:24, the Priests are told to bless the Jewish people, ("May the Lord bless you and keep you …") Here the Jewish people are blessed in the "singular." God uses the priests to bless the people as opposed to "doing it Himself". How do these ideas continue the theme of unity from last week’s Parsha?
  4. The Torah repeats what seem to be twelve identical offerings of the princes of the tribes in Numbers, chapter 7. How do we find unique expression in the way God commanded this to be done? How might this (as well as all of the Torah's commands) be compare to modern sports, where all players abide by the same rules, but can achieve individual style and greatness? How may the uniqueness of the offerings of the princes be compared to the "song" the Jewish people sang at the Red Sea, where each one had a "personal experience" with God? (Exodus 15:2)
  5. God had His people travel in the desert with the Tabernacle. What does this represent regarding subduing evil, as well as bringing God’s light into the world? How is the reflected in the "negative" and "positive" commands of the Torah? How does this show the eternal relevance of this Torah passage?
  6. How does the setup of the Tabernacle (from the outer areas to the Holy of Holies), reflect the structure of the existence, from the physical world to the presence of God?
  7. Consider this concept:
    The following "three-fold" prayer is found in Numbers 6:24-26, "May the Lord bless you and safeguard you. May the Lord illuminate His countenance for you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His countenance to you and establish peace for you." Judaism holds great significance to the number three (i.e., Talmud Shabbos 88a, Avos 1:2). There is a "triune" aspect to God (which has nothing to do with the Christian "trinity" doctrine), that being a "judgmental side" (i.e., His "left hand") mercy in His "right hand," and compassion in the center (which reconciles the two). There are also three "parts" to creation, the physical realm we live in, the realm of souls and angels, and the realm of the heavenly throne room. This prayer reflects both the "nature" of God as well as the "levels of existence" in His creation. We are safeguarded with the "left side of judgment," given grace from the "right side of mercy" and find shalom in the harmony of their balance. We are blessed in the physical world, our souls receive His countenance in the next realm, and the shalom "that passes all understanding" comes from His throne in the heavens. This prayer is thus a representation of Messiah who unites left and right as well as below and above, and is also a model for us in navigating the narrow "middle path" of Torah.