top of page

Naso – A thought for the week by Mike Lewis

This week we read a very long Parasha - 176 verses. Superficially it seems to have a series of unrelated subjects. It contains the duties of  two named families, the laws of the Nazir, the laws of the Sotah ( the woman suspected of infidelity), uncleanliness, a list of the gifts by 12 tribes ( all the same and all repeated) and  the Priestly Blessing.

What seems to be a theme is that of “duties”; some that are inherent, some that we assume and some that are implicit.

The most recognisable inherent duty is what we see in “duchaning”, where the Cohanim recite the Priestly Blessing. There has, for many years, been controversy over this practice. Our own practice is always to call up more than one Cohen. In the Jerusalem Talmud Rav Huna states that “even if there is only one kohen (priest) present to say the blessing, the prayer leader should still cry out in the plural, “kohanim,” to show that it is the tribe, not the individual, that offers blessing”.

As for assumed duties we could cite the Nazir, who separates himself; seeming to aspire to a higher level of holiness. In the Torah it is not made clear whether this is a praiseworthy thing or just something that is permissible.  Setting yourself apart is not something that we, as Jews, encourage; we are a community.

As for implicit duties they apply to us all equally; the Parasha records that all the tribes bring the same offerings. In the modern world we often question what is relevant. We can choose to see the word duty in many ways. It can be seen as an obligation, as a necessity or as a willing acceptance of doing what is right. It is listening to “The still, small voice.”

Our obligations are not just to God but also to one another.

2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

If you would like to observe the December Council meeting please email David: or Steven: by noon on Monday 18 December at the latest. SHEMA Counci

If you would like to observe the Council meeting, please email David or Steven before 12 noon on Monday Council agenda Monday 27th November after

We hope that you are keeping well and looking after yourselves, and your family, at this difficult time. Please continue to reach out to others. Please be cautious around social media, news-updates, a

bottom of page