Parashat Naso

One of the laws mentioned in this Parashah is that of the “Nazir”, a person who promises not to drink wine for at least 30 days. In addition, he is prohibited from any grape derivative, and must let his hair grow long and not become impure. But what led him to deprive himself of one of the most popular and millenary beverages in history? According to a report by the World Health Organization, violence related to excessive alcohol consumption causes the death of 2.5 million people every year, 320,000 of whom are young people between 15 and 29 years of age. It is logical, then, that the person who is affected by alcohol would want to take a vow of abstinence to rectify his or her behavior. What honesty and willpower he or she must have, right? Nevertheless, we must understand why God commands the Nazir, at the conclusion of the 30 days, to bring to the Beit Hamikdash an offering of atonement for sin. The Sages explain, that there are many foods that the Torah forbade, such as pork, etc. But wine is permitted. The sin of the nazir is that he deprives himself of what is permitted, instead of enjoying the pleasure in a balanced way. Wine is a fundamental element in our sacred festivities, weddings, britot, etc. God wants us to be happy, enjoying pleasures in a balanced way, not abusing or depriving ourselves of them.

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