19 Fixing the root of a problem at its Roots - Mezuzah Scrolls

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					Fixing the root of a problem at its root

                       This week’s parasha is Nasso and it contains various subjects.
Let’s concentrate on one particular topic that is a Nazir. A Nazir being someone that
would pronounce a vow and would therefore be completely consecrated to Hashem.

One would make a vow and become a Nazir would refrain from cutting his hair, drink
wine and avoid becoming impure. A Nazir would end the vow period after a
predetermined timeframe by offering a sacrifice to Hashem.

To illustrate this lets bring a midrash, this following story. One day Rabbi Shimon
Hatzadik had encountered a Nazir and start speaking with him. This Nazir was
particularly a good looking man. So the Rabbi spoke to him and said that eventually at
the end of the vow he would need to cut off his beautiful hair and therefore lose some
of his beauty and elegance.

The young man replied by saying that this is exactly the reason he made the vow to
Hashem. He told the Rabbi that once he had gone to the river to drink, he saw his face
into the calm water and realize that he was beautiful in appearance. This unfortunately
brought to him thoughts that are not in harmony with his torah education.

So he decided to do a vow to Hashem hoping that the object of his temptations would
disappear. The Rabbi replied to him that he had never eaten from a Nazir sacrifice in
the past but from him he would eat from his offering. The Rabbi really saw that he
had made his vow with sincerity and he wished that many more men would be like

This brings a question, why would this man did not cut his hair in the first place so
that he could of avoided to do a vow and therefore lose his beauty without going
through all the difficult rules of a Nazir? Indeed it is true that most of the time
removing the root of a problem could solve the issue for good.

So yes maybe by cutting his hair would automatically solve this man’s concerns. But
there is a deeper explanation, cutting off or removing the source of the immediate
problem does not guarantee that this same issue will completely disappear. This
action is only removing the symptom.

What the Nazir has chosen here is to go to the core of the problem to understand why
the sight of his beauty brought him those forbidden desires when looking at his face in
the water. In fact he realized that he had not given himself entirely, his body and his
spirit to the Torah sanctity.

So by becoming a Nazir he would therefore capture his evil inclination encapsulated
by the Torah sanctity and he was convinced that the problem will be resolved and
conquered. This is such a fabulous teaching that indeed the Rabbi told him that he had
wished many more men should think and act like him.
In conclusion, for example we know that jalousie is very bad and could even bring
death. So at first glance we should eradicate jalousie for ever since it seems to be all
so negative.

This is one way to deal with it but in other situations someone having jalousie to
become a better person could be for the good. Wanting to surpass yourself is a
positive thing.

Shabat Shalom

Translated and adapted from various Talmudic sources by Elisha Ben Mordechai


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