Naso (parsha)

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Naso or Nasso (נָשֹׂאHebrew for "lift up," the sixth word, and the first distinctive word, in the parashah) is the 35th weekly Torah portion (פָּרָשָׁה, parashah) in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading and the second in the book of Numbers. It constitutes Numbers 4:21–7:89. Naso has the largest number of letters, words, and verses of any of the 54 weekly Torah portions. The parashah is made up of 8,632 Hebrew letters, 2,264 Hebrew words, and 176 verses, and can occupy about 311 lines in a Torah Scroll (סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה, Sefer Torah).[1]

Jews generally read it in late May or June, typically on the first Shabbat after Shavuot.

Hanukkah menorah

As the parashah includes the story of the consecration of the Tabernacle, Jews also read parts of the parashah as Torah readings on the eight days of Hanukkah, which commemorates the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem. Numbers 7:1–17 is the Torah reading for the first day; Numbers 7:18–29 is the Torah reading for the second day; Numbers 7:24–35 is the Torah reading for the third day; Numbers 7:30–41 is the Torah reading for the fourth day; Numbers 7:36–47 is the Torah reading for the fifth day; Numbers 7:42–47 is the second Torah reading for the sixth day of Hanukkah, which, because it falls on Rosh Chodesh, has Numbers 28:1–15 as its first reading; Numbers 7:48–59 is the Torah reading for the seventh day when it does not fall on Rosh Chodesh; and Numbers 7:48–53 is the second Torah reading for the seventh day when it does fall on Rosh Chodesh, in which case Numbers 28:1–15 is the first reading; and Numbers 7:54–8:4 is the Torah reading for the eighth day. When a day of Hanukkah falls on a Sabbath, however, the regular weekly Torah reading for that Sabbath is the first Torah reading for that day, and the following readings from Parashah Naso are the maftir Torah readings: Numbers 7:1–17 is the maftir Torah reading for the first day; Numbers 7:18–23 is the maftir Torah reading for the second day; Numbers 7:24–29 is the maftir Torah reading for the third day; Numbers 7:30–35 is the maftir Torah reading for the fourth day; Numbers 7:36–41 is the maftir Torah reading for the fifth day; Numbers 7:42–47 is the maftir Torah reading for the sixth day of Hanukkah, which, because it falls on Rosh Chodesh, has Numbers 28:9–15 as its sixth aliyah; Numbers 7:48–53 is the maftir Torah reading for the seventh day; and Numbers 7:54–8:4 is the maftir Torah reading for the eighth day.

The parashah addresses priestly duties, purifying the camp, the wife accused of unfaithfulness (sotah), the nazirite, the Priestly Blessing, and consecrating the Tabernacle.

The Tabernacle and the Camp

Readings[edit]

In traditional Sabbath Torah reading, the parashah is divided into seven readings, or עליות, aliyot.[2]

First reading — Numbers 4:21–37[edit]

In the first reading (עליה, aliyah), God told Moses to take a census of the Gershonites between 30 and 50 years old, who were subject to service for the Tabernacle.[3] The Gershonites had the duty, under the direction of Aaron's son Ithamar, to carry the cloths of the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting with its covering, the covering of tachash skin on top of it, the screen for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, the hangings of the enclosure, the screen at the entrance of the gate of the enclosure surrounding the Tabernacle, the cords thereof, the altar, and all their service equipment and accessories.[4] Moses was also to take a census of the Merarites between 30 and 50 years old.[5] The Merarites had responsibility, under the direction of Ithamar, for the planks, the bars, the posts, and the sockets of the Tabernacle, and the posts around the enclosure and their sockets, pegs, and cords.[6] Moses, Aaron, and the chieftains recorded 2,750 Kohathites age 30 to 50.[7]

Relative Population and Adult Population of the Levite Divisions (from Numbers 3:22–34 and 4:34–39)
Division Population Share of Total Rank by Pop. Adults Share of Total Rank by Adults Adult Share of Division
Kohathites 8,600 38.6 1 2,750 32.1 2 32.0
Gershonites 7,500 33.6 2 2,630 30.6 3 35.1
Merarites 6,200 27.8 3 3,200 37.3 1 51.6
Total 22,300 100.0 8,580 100.0 38.5

Second reading — Numbers 4:38–49[edit]

In the second reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses, Aaron, and the chieftains thus recorded the Levites age 30 to 50 as follows:

  • Kohathites: 2,750,
  • Gershonites: 2,630, and
  • Merarites: 3,200,

for a total of 8,580.[8]

Third reading — Numbers 5:1–10[edit]

In the third reading (עליה, aliyah), God directed the Israelites to remove from camp anyone with an eruption or a discharge and anyone defiled by a corpse, so that they would not defile the camp.[9] God told Moses to direct the Israelites that when one wronged a fellow Israelite, thus breaking faith with God, and realized his guilt, he was to confess the wrong and make restitution to the one wronged in the principal amount plus one-fifth.[10] If the one wronged had no kinsman to whom restitution could be made, the amount repaid was to go to the priest, along with a ram of expiation.[11] Similarly, any gift among the sacred donations that the Israelites offered was to be the priest's to keep.[12]

Fourth reading — Numbers 5:11–6:27[edit]

In the fourth reading (עליה, aliyah), God told Moses to instruct the Israelites about the test where a husband, in a fit of jealousy, accused his wife of being unfaithful — the ritual of the sotah.[13] The man was to bring his wife to the priest, along with barley flour as a meal offering of jealousy.[14] The priest was to dissolve some earth from the floor of the Tabernacle into some sacral water in an earthen vessel.[15] The priest was to bare the woman's head, place the meal offering on her hands, and adjure the woman: if innocent, to be immune to harm from the water of bitterness, but if guilty, to be cursed to have her thigh sag and belly distend.[16] And the woman was to say, "Amen, amen!"[17] The priest was to write these curses down, rub the writing off into the water of bitterness, and make the woman drink the water.[18] The priest was to elevate the meal offering, present it on the altar, and burn a token part of it on the altar.[19] If she had broken faith with her husband, the water would cause her belly to distend and her thigh to sag, and the woman was to become a curse among her people, but if the woman was innocent, she would remain unharmed and be able to bear children.[20]

turtledove (illustration circa 1832–1837 by John and Elizabeth Gould)
grapes, forbidden to the nazirite

In the continuation of the fourth reading, God told Moses to instruct the Israelites about the vows of a nazirite (נָזִיר, nazir), should one wish to set himself or herself apart for God.[21] The nazirite was to abstain from wine, intoxicants, vinegar, grapes, raisins, or anything obtained from the grapevine.[22] No razor was to touch the nazirite's head until the completion of the nazirite term.[23] And the nazirite was not to go near a dead person, even a father, mother, brother, or sister.[24] If a person died suddenly near a nazirite, the nazirite was to shave his or her head on the seventh day.[25] On the eighth day, the nazirite was to bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest, who was to offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering.[26] That same day, the nazirite was to reconsecrate his or her head, rededicate the nazirite term, and bring a lamb in its first year as a penalty offering.[27] On the day that a nazirite completed his or her term, the nazirite was to be brought to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and present a male lamb in its first year for a burnt offering, a ewe lamb in its first year for a sin offering, a ram for an offering of well-being, a basket of unleavened cakes, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and meal offerings.[28] The priest was to present the offerings, and the nazirite was to shave his or her consecrated hair and put the hair on the fire under the sacrifice of well-being.[29]

the positioning of the fingers of the Kohanim during the Priestly Blessing

In the conclusion of the fourth reading, God told Moses to instruct Aaron and his sons that they should bless the Israelites with this blessing: "The Lord bless you and protect you! The Lord deal kindly and graciously with you! The Lord bestow His favor upon you and grant you peace!"[30]

Fifth reading — Numbers 7:1–41[edit]

In the fifth reading (עליה, aliyah), Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle, and anointed and consecrated it, its furnishings, the altar, and its utensils.[31] The chieftains of the tribes then brought their offerings — 6 draught carts and 12 oxen — and God told Moses to accept them for use by the Levites in the service of the Tent of Meeting.[32] The chieftains then each on successive days brought the same dedication offerings for the altar: a silver bowl and silver basin filled with flour mixed with oil, a gold ladle filled with incense, a bull, 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 goats, and 5 lambs.[33]

Sixth reading — Numbers 7:42–71[edit]

In the sixth reading (עליה, aliyah), the chieftains continued to bring dedication offerings for the altar.[34]

Seventh reading — Numbers 7:72–89[edit]

In the seventh reading (עליה, aliyah), when Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with God, Moses would hear the Voice addressing him from above the cover that was on top of the Ark between the two cherubim, and thus God spoke to him.[35]

Readings according to the triennial cycle[edit]

Jews who read the Torah according to the triennial cycle of Torah reading read the parashah according to the following schedule:[36]

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
2013–2014, 2016–2017, 2019–2020 . . . 2014–2015, 2017–2018, 2020–2021 . . . 2015–2016, 2018–2019, 2021–2022 . . .
Reading 4:21–5:10 5:11–6:27 7:1–89
1 4:21–24 5:11–15 7:1–11
2 4:25–28 5:16–26 7:12–23
3 4:29–33 5:27–6:4 7:24–35
4 4:34–37 6:5–8 7:36–47
5 4:38–49 6:9–15 7:48–59
6 5:1–4 6:16–21 7:60–71
7 5:5–10 6:22–27 7:72–89
Maftir 5:8–10 6:22–27 7:87–89

In inner-Biblical interpretation[edit]

The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these Biblical sources:[37]

Numbers chapter 5[edit]

Corpse contamination[edit]

In Numbers 5:1–4, God instructed Moses to command the Israelites to put out of the camp every person defiled by contact with the dead, so that they would not defile their camps, in the midst of which God dwelt. This is one of a series of passages setting out the teaching that contact with the dead is antithetical to purity.

In Leviticus 21:1–5, God instructed Moses to direct the priests not to allow themselves to become defiled by contact with the dead, except for a mother, father, son, daughter, brother, or unmarried sister. And the priests were not to engage in mourning rituals of making baldness upon their heads, shaving off the corners of their beards, or cutting their flesh.

Numbers 19 sets out a procedure for a red cow mixture for decontamination from corpse contamination.

In its profession associated with tithing, Deuteronomy 26:13–14 instructed Israelites to aver that they had not eaten from the tithe in mourning, nor put away any of it while unclean, nor given any of it to the dead.

In Ezekiel 43:6–9, the prophet Ezekiel cites the burial of kings within the Temple as one of the practices that defiled the Temple and cause God to abandon it.

Numbers 5:1–4 and 6:6–7 associate death with uncleanness, as do Leviticus 11:8, 11; 21:1–4, 11; and Numbers 19:11–16. Perhaps similarly, Leviticus 12 associates uncleanness with childbirth and Leviticus 13–14 associates it with skin disease. Leviticus 15 associates it with various sexuality-related events. And Jeremiah 2:7, 23; 3:2; and 7:30; and Hosea 6:10 associate it with contact with the worship of alien gods.

Repentance for false swearing[edit]

Amos (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

The Rabbis read Numbers 5:6–8 together with Leviticus 5:21–26 as related passages. Leviticus 5:21–26 deals with those who sin and commit a trespass against God by dealing falsely with their neighbors in the matter of a deposit, pledge, robbery, other oppression of their neighbors, or the finding of lost property, and swear to a lie. Leviticus 5:23–24 provides that the offender must immediately restore in full to the victim the property at issue and shall add an additional fifth part. And Leviticus 5:25–26 requires the offender to bring to the priest an unblemished ram for a guilt-offering, and the priest shall make atonement for the offender before God, and the offender shall be forgiven.

Numbers 5:6–7 directs that when people commit any sin against God, then they shall confess and make restitution in full to the victim and add a fifth part. And Numbers 5:8 provides that if the victim has no heir to whom restitution may be made, the offender must make restitution to the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement.

Numbers chapter 6[edit]

The prophet Amos compared nazirites to prophets, teaching that God raised up both. And Amos chastised Israel for inducing nazirites to drink wine.[38]

In classical rabbinic interpretation[edit]

The parashah is discussed in these rabbinic sources from the era of the Mishnah and the Talmud:

Numbers chapter 4[edit]

A Midrash noted that God ordered the Kohathites counted first in Numbers 4:1 and only thereafter ordered the Gershonites counted in Numbers 4:21, even though Gershon was the firstborn and Scripture generally honors the firstborn. The Midrash taught that Scripture gives Kohath precedence over Gershon because the Kohathites bore the Ark that carried the Torah.[39] Similarly, another Midrash taught that God ordered the Kohathites counted first because Kohath was most holy, for Aaron the priest — who was most holy — descended from Kohath, while Gershon was only holy. But the Midrash taught that Gershon did not forfeit his status as firstborn, because Scripture uses the same language, "Lift up the head of the sons of," with regard to Kohath in Numbers 4:2 and with regard to Gershon in Numbers 4:22. And Numbers 4:22 says "they also" with regard to the Gershonites so that one should not suppose that the Gershonites were numbered second because they were inferior to the Kohathites; rather Numbers 4:22 says "they also" to indicate that the Gershonites were also like the Kohathites in every respect, and the Kohathites were placed first in this connection as a mark of respect to the Torah. In other places;[40] however, Scripture places Gershon before Kohath.[41]

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Levi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gershon
 
Kohath
 
Merari
 
Jochebed
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amram
 
Izhar
 
Hebron
 
Uzziel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Miriam
 
Aaron
 
Moses
 
 
 

A Midrash taught that had Reuben not disgraced himself by his conduct with Bilhah in Genesis 35:22, his descendants would have been worthy of assuming the service of the Levites, for ordinary Levites came to replace firstborn Israelites, as Numbers 3:41 says, "And you shall take the Levites for Me, even the Lord, instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel."[42]

A Midrash noted that in Numbers 4:1 "the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron" to direct them to count the Kohathites and in Numbers 4:21 "the Lord spoke to Moses" to direct him to count the Gershonites, but Numbers 4:29 does not report that "the Lord spoke" to direct them to count the Merarites. The Midrash deduced that Numbers 4:21 employed the words "the Lord spoke" so as to give honor to Gershon as the firstborn, and to give him the same status as Kohath. The Midrash then noted that Numbers 4:1 reported that God spoke "to Aaron" with regard to the Kohathites but Numbers 4:21 did not report communication to Aaron with regard to the Gershonites. The Midrash taught that God excluded Aaron from all Divine communications to Moses and that passages that mention Aaron do not report that God spoke to Aaron, but include Aaron's name in sections that concern Aaron to indicate that God spoke to Moses so that he might repeat what he heard to Aaron. Thus Numbers 4:1 mentions Aaron regarding the Kohathites because Aaron and his sons assigned the Kohathites their duties, since (as Numbers 4:15 relates) the Kohathites were not permitted to touch the ark or any of the vessels until Aaron and his sons had covered them. In the case of the Gershonites, however, the Midrash finds no evidence that Aaron personally interfered with them, as Ithamar supervised their tasks, and thus Numbers 4:21 does not mention Aaron in connection with the Gershonites.[43]

A Midrash noted that in Numbers 4:2 and Numbers 4:22, God used the expression "lift up the head" to direct counting the Kohathites and Gershonites, but in Numbers 4:29, God does not use that expression to direct counting the Merarites. The Midrash deduced that God honored the Kohathites on account of the honor of the Ark and the Gershonites because Gershon was a firstborn. But since the Merarites neither cared for the Ark nor descended from a firstborn, God did not use the expression "lift up the head."[44]

The Encampment of the Levites
North
Merari
West Gershon THE TABERNACLE Priests East
Kohath
South

A Midrash taught that the Levites camped on the four sides of the Tabernacle in accordance with their duties. The Midrash explained that from the west came snow, hail, cold, and heat, and thus God placed the Gershonites on the west, as Numbers 3:25 indicates that their service was "the tent, the covering thereof, and the screen for the door of the tent of meeting," which could shield against snow, hail, cold, and heat. The Midrash explained that from the south came the dew and rain that bring blessing to the world, and there God placed the Kohathites, who bore the ark that carried the Torah, for as Leviticus 26:3–4 and 15–19 teach, the rains depend on the observance of the Torah. The Midrash explained that from the north came darkness, and thus the Merarites camped there, as Numbers 4:31 indicates that their service was the carrying of wood ("the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof") which Jeremiah 10:8 teaches counteract idolatrous influences when it says, "The chastisement of vanities is wood." And the Midrash explained that from the east comes light, and thus Moses, Aaron, and his sons camped there, because they were scholars and men of pious deeds, bringing atonement by their prayer and sacrifices.[45]

A Midrash noted that in Numbers 4:2 and Numbers 4:29, for the Kohathites and the Merarites, the sequence is "by their families, by their fathers houses," whereas in Numbers 4:22, for the Gershonites, "their fathers’ houses" precedes "their families." The Midrash deduced that this is so because the importance of the Gershonites comes from their fathers’ house, as Gershon was the firstborn.[46]

The Outer Altar (1984 illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing)

Rabbi Jose employed Numbers 4:26 to calculate the height of the walls of the courtyard in relation to the height of the outer altar. Rabbi Judah maintained that the outer altar was wider than Rabbi Jose thought it was, whereas Rabbi Jose maintained that the outer altar was taller than Rabbi Judah thought it was. Rabbi Jose said that one should read literally the words of Exodus 27:1, “five cubits long, and five cubits broad.” But Rabbi Judah noted that Exodus 27:1 uses the word “square” (רָבוּעַ, ravua), just as Ezekiel 43:16 uses the word “square” (רָבוּעַ, ravua). Rabbi Judah argued that just as in Ezekiel 43:16, the dimension was measured from the center (so that the dimension described only one quadrant of the total), so the dimensions of Exodus 27:1 should be measured from the center (and thus, according to Rabbi Judah, the altar was 10 cubits on each side.) The Gemara explained that we know that this is how to understand Ezekiel 43:16 because Ezekiel 43:16 says, “And the hearth shall be 12 cubits long by 12 cubits broad, square,” and Ezekiel 43:16 continues, “to the four sides thereof,” teaching that the measurement was taken from the middle (interpreting “to” as intimating that from a particular point, there were 12 cubits in all directions, hence from the center). Rabbi Jose, however, reasoned that a common use of the word “square” applied to the height of the altar. Rabbi Judah said that one should read literally the words of Exodus 27:1, “And the height thereof shall be three cubits.” But Rabbi Jose noted that Exodus 27:1 uses the word “square” (רָבוּעַ, ravua), just as Exodus 30:2 uses the word “square” (רָבוּעַ, ravua, referring to the inner altar). Rabbi Jose argued that just as in Exodus 30:2 the altar’s height was twice its length, so too in Exodus 27:1, the height was to be read as twice its length (and thus the altar was 10 cubits high). Rabbi Judah questioned Rabbi Jose’s conclusion, for if priests stood on the altar to perform the service 10 cubits above the ground, the people would see them from outside the courtyard. Rabbi Jose replied to Rabbi Judah that Numbers 4:26 states, “And the hangings of the court, and the screen for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the Tabernacle and by the altar round about,” teaching that just as the Tabernacle was 10 cubits high, so was the altar 10 cubits high; and Exodus 38:14 says, “The hangings for the one side were fifteen cubits” (teaching that the walls of the courtyard were 15 cubits high). The Gemara explained that according to Rabbi Jose’s reading, the words of Exodus 27:18, “And the height five cubits,” meant from the upper edge of the altar to the top of the hangings. And according to Rabbi Jose, the words of Exodus 27:1, “and the height thereof shall be three cubits,” meant that there were three cubits from the edge of the terrace (on the side of the altar) to the top of the altar. Rabbi Judah, however, granted that the priest could be seen outside the Tabernacle, but argued that the sacrifice in his hands could not be seen.[47]

Rav Hamnuna taught that God's decree that the generation of the spies would die in the wilderness did not apply to the Levites, for Numbers 14:29 says, "your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness, and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from 20 years old and upward," and this implies that those who were numbered from 20 years old and upward came under the decree, while the tribe of Levi — which Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, and 47 say was numbered from 30 years old and upward — was excluded from the decree.[48]

The Tosefta noted that Numbers 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, and 47 say that Levites "30 years old and upward" did service in the tent of meeting, while Numbers 8:24 says, "from 25 years old and upward they shall go in to perform the service in the work of the tent of meeting." The Tosefta deduced that the difference teaches that all those five years, from the age of 25 to the age of 30, Levites studied, serving apprenticeships, and from that time onward they were allowed to draw near to do service. The Tosefta concluded that a Levite could not enter the Temple courtyard to do service unless he had served an apprenticeship of five years. And the Tosefta inferred from this that students who see no sign of success in their studies within a period of five years will never see any. Rabbi Jose said that students had to see success within three years, basing his position on the words "that they should be nourished three years" in Daniel 1:5.[49]

A Midrash taught that the words of Numbers 4:23, "All who enter in to wait upon the service," refer to those who were gate-keepers (whose job was to guard the Temple and not to perform active service). And the Midrash taught that the words of Numbers 4:23, "To do service in the tent of meeting," refer to those who were the singers.[50]

A Midrash inferred from the words "from 30 years old . . . every one that entered upon the service" in Numbers 4:35 that a man attains his full strength at age 30.[51]

Belvati in the name of Rabbi Johanan derived the Levite's obligation to sing songs while offering sacrifices from the words of Numbers 4:47, "to do the work of service." Belvati reasoned that the work that requires service is the song.[52]

Numbers chapter 5[edit]

Rabi Levi taught that the discussion of how to purify the camp in Numbers 5:1–4 was one of eight passages given to Moses on the day that the Tabernacle was erected (because the people needed to study them immediately).[53]

Chapter 9 of Tractate Bava Kamma in the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud and chapters 9 and 10 in the Tosefta interpreted Numbers 5:6–8 together with Leviticus 5:21–26.[54]

Reading Numbers 5:6, "When a man or woman shall commit any sin," Rav Judah said on behalf of Rav, and so was it also taught at the school of Rabbi Ishmael, that Scripture thus made women and men equal regarding all the penalties of the Law. The Gemara cited this conclusion to support the ruling of the Mishnah[55] that women are subject to the law of torts.[56]

The Mishnah taught that if one robbed another of something worth a perutah and the robber nonetheless swore that the robber did not do so, the robber was obliged to take restitution to the victim even if the robber needed to go as far as Persia. The robber could not give the restitution to the victim’s son nor to the victim’s agent, but the robber could give it to an agent of the court. If the victim died, the robber had to restore it to the victim’s heirs.[57]

The Mishnah interpreted the requirements of Numbers 5:8 regarding restitution where the victim died without kin to apply as well to where a proselyte victim died. The wrongdoer would have to pay the priests the principal plus 20 percent and bring a trespass offering to the altar. If the wrongdoer died bringing the money and the offering to Jerusalem, the money was to go to the wrongdoer's heirs, and the offering was to be kept on the pasture until it became blemished, when it was to be sold and the proceeds were to go to the fund for freewill offerings. But if the wrongdoer had already given the money to the priest and then died, the heirs could not retrieve the funds, for Numbers 5:10 provides that "whatever any man gives to the priest shall be his."[58]

Tractate Sotah in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the woman accused of being unfaithful (sotah) in Numbers 5:11–31.[59]

Hezekiah the son of Rabbi Parnak said in the name of Rabbi Johanan that the laws of the woman accused of being unfaithful in Numbers 5:11–31 follow immediately on laws dealing with the heave offering (תְּרוּמָה, terumah) and tithes to teach that if one has a heave offering or a tithe and does not give it to the priest, in the end he will require the priest's services to deal with his wife. For Numbers 5:10 says, “Every man's hallowed things shall be his,” and immediately afterwards Numbers 5:12 says, “If any man's wife go aside,” and thereafter Numbers 5:15 says, “the man shall bring his wife to the priest.” Even more, in the end, such a person would need the tithe for the poor, as Numbers 5:10 says, “Every man's hallowed things shall be his” (in the form of a tithe for the poor). In contrast, Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak taught that if he does give, he will eventually become rich. For Numbers 5:10 says, “Whatever a man gives the priest, he shall have,” and that means that he shall have much wealth.[60]

The Mishnah taught that before a husband could accuse his wife pursuant to the procedure of Numbers 5:11–31, he had to warn her not to associate with a certain man. Rabbi Eliezer said that he warned her on the testimony of two witnesses, and made her drink the bitter water on the testimony of one witness or his own testimony. Rabbi Joshua said that he warned her on the testimony of two witnesses and made her drink on the testimony of two witnesses.[61]

The Mishnah taught that it was not sufficient for the husband simply to say to his wife (in the presence of two witnesses) not to converse with a man. And if she nonetheless conversed with him, she was still permitted to her husband and (if a daughter of a Kohen) still permitted to eat from sacrifices. If, however, she entered a private place with the man and stayed with him long enough to have committed misconduct, she was forbidden to her husband and forbidden to eat from sacrifices, and if her husband died, she was required to perform the ceremony of halizah and could not contract a levirate marriage.[62]

The Mishnah deduced from the two uses of the words "they shall enter" in Numbers 5:22 and 27 that just as the bitter water tested the suspected wife, so it tested the suspected paramour, punishing him as well as her if they were guilty. And Rabbi Akiva taught that in the event that she was guilty, just as she was prohibited to her husband (who would have to divorce her), so was she prohibited to the paramour (and could not marry him), for Numbers 5:29 says, “defiled . . . And is defiled.” Rabbi Joshua taught that Zechariah ben HaKazav used to expound the matter that way. And Rabbi taught that the word “defiled” occurs twice in Numbers 5:14 and 29 because one occurance referred to her being prohibited to the husband and the other to the paramour.[63]

Reading the report of Exodus 32:20 that Moses "took the calf . . . ground it to powder, and sprinkled it on the water, and made the children of Israel drink it," the Sages interpreted that Moses meant to test the Israelites much as the procedure of Numbers 5:11–31 tested a wife accused of adultery (sotah).[64]

A Midrash taught that there is nothing greater before God than the "amen" that Israel answers. Rabbi Judah ben Sima taught that the word "amen" contains three kinds of solemn declarations: oath, consent, and confirmation. Numbers 5:21–22 demonstrates oath when it says, "Then the priest shall cause the woman to swear . . . and the woman shall say: ‘Amen, Amen.’" Deuteronomy 27:26 demonstrates consent when it says "And all the people shall say: ‘Amen.’" And 1 Kings 1:36 demonstrates confirmation when it says, "And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the king, and said: ‘Amen; so say the Lord.’"[65]

The Mishnah taught that when adulterers multiplied, Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai discontinued the sotah ceremony of Numbers 5:11–31, as Hosea 4:14 says, "I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for they themselves consort with lewd women, and they sacrifice with harlots; and the people that is without understanding is distraught."[66]

Numbers chapter 6[edit]

Tractate Nazir in the Mishnah, Tosefta, Jerusalem Talmud, and Babylonian Talmud interpreted the laws of the nazirite (נָזִיר, nazir) in Numbers 6:1–21.[67]

It was taught in a Baraita that Rabbi taught that the laws of the nazirite in Numbers 6:1–21 follow immediately those of the woman accused of being unfaithful in Numbers 5:11–31 to teach that anyone who sees an unfaithful wife in her ruination should (take a lesson from her ways and) completely abstain from wine (for wine brought her to her end).[68] Similarly, a Midrash taught that when they made the suspected wife drink, they told her that much might have been due to wine. And all the Israelites who had seen it would come home and bemoan the person who had drunk wine, got intoxicated, committed sin, and died. And so they would swear never to taste wine, so that they might not meet the same fate. And the Midrash provided another explanation: Just as the nazirite was separated from wine, so God separated the faithless wife from other women.[69] Similarly, another Midrash taught that wine leads to whoredom. And thus God wrote the section about the nazirite after the section about the suspected wife to indicate that one should not copy the deeds of the adulterer and adulteress who drank wine and disgraced themselves, but that one who is afraid of sin should separate from wine.[70]

The Sifre taught that the words of Numbers 6:2, “When either man or woman shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a nazirite,” excluded minors from taking such a vow. The Sifre taught that the rule of Numbers 6:2 thus applied only to those who knew the meaning of making such a special vow. And on that basis the rule of Mishnah Niddah 5:6[71] was given that the vows of a boy of the age of 12 years and one day must be examined (to ascertain whether the boy understood their significance).[72]

The Sifre taught that the words of Numbers 6:2, “shall clearly utter a vow, the vow of a nazirite, to consecrate himself unto the Lord,” applied only if the person took the vow willingly and not under duress.[73]

Samson and Delilah (1615 painting by Gerard van Honthorst)

The Mishnah interpreted the "nazirite's vow" of Numbers 6:2. The Mishnah taught that all substitutes for a nazirite vow functioned just like a nazirite vow. A person who said, "I shall be one," became a nazirite. A person who said, "I shall be comely," "a nazirite," "a nazik," "a naziah," or "a paziah," became a nazirite. A person who said, "I intend to be like this," or "I intend to curl my hair," or "I mean to tend my hair," or "I undertake to develop tresses," became a nazirite. Rabbi Meir said that a person who said, "I take upon myself an obligation involving birds," became a nazirite," but the sages said that the person did not become a nazirite.[74]

A person who said, "I declare myself a nazirite to abstain from pressed grapes," or "from grape stones," or "from cutting my hair," or "from contracting ritual defilement," became a nazirite subject to all the regulations of naziriteship.[75]

A person who said, "I vow to be like Samson," "the son of Manoah," "the husband of Delilah," or "the one who plucked up the gates of Gaza," or "the one whose eyes the Philistines put out," became a nazirite like Samson (who was a nazirite for life). The difference between nazirites like Samson and life-nazirites was that life-nazirites could thin their hair with a razor and then offer three animal sacrifices, while should they be ritually defiled, they had to offer the sacrifice prescribed for defilement. Nazirites like Samson were not permitted to thin their hair, and if ritually defiled, they did not offer the sacrifice prescribed for defilement.[76]

A nazirite vow of unspecified duration remained in force 30 days.[77]

The Sifre asked why Numbers 6:1–4 set forth the effectiveness of nazirite vows, when the general rule of Numbers 30:2 would suffice to teach that all vows — including nazirite vows — are binding. The Sifre explained that Numbers 6:1–4 warned that a person making a nazirite vow would be bound to at least a 30-day nazirite period.[78]

A person who said, "I intend to be a nazirite for one long period," or "I intend to be a nazirite for one short period," became a nazirite for 30 days, even if the person added, "for as long as it takes to go from here to the end of the earth." A person who said, "I intend to be a nazirite, plus one day," or "I intend to be a nazirite, plus an hour," or "I intend to be a nazirite, once and a half," became a nazirite for two 30-day periods.[79] A person who said, "I intend to be a nazirite for 30 days plus an hour," became a nazirite for 31 days, as there was no naziriteship for a period of hours.[80]

People who said, "I intend to be a nazirite as the hairs of my head," or "the dust of the earth," or "the sands of the sea," became life-nazirites, cutting their hair every 30 days. Rabbi said that such nazirites did not cut their hair every 30 days. Rabbi said that the nazirites who cut their hair every 30 days were the ones who said, "I undertake naziriteships as the hair on my head," or "the dust of the earth," or "the sands of the sea."[81]

They interrogated people who said, "I intend to be a nazirite a house full," or "a basket full," to determine their intent. A person who said, "I vowed one long period of naziriteship," became a nazirite for 30 days. But a person who said, "I vowed without attaching any precise meaning to the statement," became a nazirite for life, as the Rabbis regarded the basket as though it were full of mustard seed.[82]

If a person said, "I intend to be a nazirite, as from here to such and such a place," they estimated the number of days that it took to get to the place mentioned. If the journey would take fewer than 30 days, then the nazirite becomes a nazirite for 30 days; otherwise the nazirite became a nazirite for that number of days.[83]

A person who said, "I intend to be a nazirite, as the number of days in a solar year," would be a nazirite for 365 terms. Rabbi Judah said that such a case once occurred, and when the nazirite completed the 365 terms, the nazirite died.[84]

Rabbi Akiva (illustration from the 1568 Mantua Haggadah)

Rabbi Simeon the Just was so skeptical of the reasons for which nazirites might have interrupted their status that he found only one that he really trusted. He said that only once in his life had he eaten of the trespass-offering brought by a defiled tear in connection with an interrupted nazirite vow. On that occasion a nazirite came from the South country, and Simeon the Just saw that he had beautiful eyes, was of handsome appearance, and with thick locks of hair symmetrically arranged. Simeon the Just asked him what reason the nazirite had seen to destroy this beautiful hair by shaving it for the nazirite vow. The nazirite replied that he was a shepherd for his father and once he went to draw water from a well and gazed upon his reflection in the water, and his evil desires rushed upon him and sought to drive him from the world through sin. But the shepherd swore that day that he would shave his beautiful hair off for the sake of Heaven. Simeon the Just immediately arose and kissed the nazirite's head, praying that there would be many nazirites such as him in Israel. And Simeon the Just said that it was of this nazirite that Numbers 6:2 says, "When either a man or a woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a nazirite, to separate themselves unto the Lord . . . ." Rabbi Mani inquired why Simeon the Just did not eat of the guilt-offering of a nazirite. If it was because the nazirite was a sinner because he tormented himself, depriving himself of wine, that would be inconsistent with ever eating of the sin-offering (for example) for tasting forbidden fat or of the sin-offering for tasting blood. Simeon the Just thought that people made the nazirite vow in a fit of temper, and since they vowed in a fit of temper they would ultimately come to regret it. And once they regretted it, their sacrifices become like those of people who slaughtered unconsecrated animals in the Temple court (which would be disrespectful and forbidden). This nazirite, however, vowed after due mental deliberation and his mouth and heart were in agreement.[85]

The Mishnah taught that Numbers 6:2–8 forbade a nazirite three things: ritual defilement, cutting of hair, and products of the vine.[86] The Mishnah taught that all products of the vine could be measured together, and that there was no penalty for violation of the nazirite's vow unless the nazirite ate an olive's bulk of grapes or drank a quarter of a log of wine. Rabbi Akiva said that there was a penalty even if the nazirite soaked bread in wine and enough was absorbed to make up an olive's bulk.[87]

Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (1850 painting by David Roberts)

The Mishnah taught that there was a separate penalty for wine, for grapes, for grape seeds, and for grape skins. But Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah said that there was no penalty for grape seeds or grape skins unless the nazirite ate at least two grape seeds and one grape skin.[88]

In the Talmud, Rabbi Joshua discouraged asceticism and abstaining from wine. The Rabbis taught in a Baraita that when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, large numbers of Judeans became ascetics, binding themselves neither to eat meat nor to drink wine. Rabbi Joshua asked the ascetics why they did not eat meat or drink wine. The ascetics asked how they could eat meat when priests used to offer meat on the altar that the Romans had destroyed. And they asked how they could drink wine when priests used to pour wine as a libation on the altar (as part of the Temple service), but did so no more. Rabbi Joshua told them that according to their logic, they should not eat bread either, as the meal offerings had ceased. The ascetics agreed, saying that they could live on fruit. Rabbi Joshua told them that they should not eat fruit either, for there was no longer an offering of first fruits. The ascetics replied that they could manage with other fruits (of types that the Israelites had not brought as first fruits). But Rabbi Joshua told them that they should not drink water either, for there was no longer a ceremony of the pouring of water (on Sukkot, as described in Mishnah Sukkah 4:1, 9–10[89]). To this the ascetics had no answer. So Rabbi Joshua taught them that not to mourn at all was impossible, because the Temple had been destroyed. But to mourn too much was also impossible, because we may not impose on the community a hardship that the majority cannot endure.[90]

Numbers 6:3–10 in Hebrew alternating with the Aramaic Targum Onkelos in a 12th-century manuscript from the British Library

If nazirites cut their hair or had their hair cut by bandits, 30 days of their nazirite term were rendered void. Nazirites who cut their own hair incurred a penalty, no matter whether they used scissors or a razor, or no matter how little they trimmed their hair.[91] Nazirites were allowed to clean their hair or part it with their fingers, but they were not allowed to comb it. Rabbi Ishmael said that they were not allowed to clean their hair with earth, because it causes the hair to fall out.[92]

A nazirite who drank wine all day long incurred only a single penalty. If the nazirite was repeatedly warned not to drink and then drank anyway, the nazirite incurred a penalty for each warning. Similarly, nazirites who cut their hair all day long incurred only one penalty, but if they were repeatedly warned not to cut and then cut anyway, they incurred a penalty for each warning. And similarly, nazirites who defile themselves by contact with the dead all day long incurred only one penalty, but if they were repeatedly warned not to defile themselves and then defiled themselves anyway, they incurred a penalty for each warning.[93]

The Mishnah taught that defilement and cutting of hair had a stringency that products of the vine did not, as defilement and cutting of hair rendered void the previous period of nazirite observance, while consuming products of the vine did not. Products of the vine had a stringency that defilement or cutting of hair did not, as the prohibition of products of the vine had no exception, while the law allowed exceptions for where cutting of hair was a religious duty or where there was an abandoned corpse. Defilement also had a stringency that cutting of hair did not, as defilement rendered void the whole of the preceding period and entails the offering of a sacrifice, while cutting of hair renders voided only 30 days and did not entail a sacrifice.[94]

The Sifre compared the prohibition of a nazirite having contact with dead bodies in Numbers 6:6–7 with the similar prohibition of a High Priest having contact with dead bodies in Leviticus 21:11. And the Sifre reasoned that just as the High Priest was required nonetheless to become unclean to see to the burial of a neglected corpse (met mitzvah), so too was the nazirite required to become unclean to see to the burial of a neglected corpse.[95]

The Mishnah employed the prohibition of Numbers 6:6 to imagine how one could with one action violate up to nine separate commandments. One could (1) plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together (in violation of Deuteronomy 22:10) (2 and 3) that are two animals dedicated to the sanctuary, (4) plowing mixed seeds sown in a vineyard (in violation of Deuteronomy 22:9), (5) during a Sabbatical year (in violation of Leviticus 25:4), (6) on a Festival-day (in violation of, for example, Leviticus 23:7), (7) when the plower is a priest (in violation of Leviticus 21:1) and (8) a nazirite (in violation of Numbers 6:6) plowing in a contaminated place. Chananya ben Chachinai said that the plower also may have been wearing a garment of wool and linen (in violation of Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11). They said to him that this would not be in the same category as the other violations. He replied that neither is the nazirite in the same category as the other violations.[96]

Tractate Kinnim in the Mishnah interpreted the laws of pairs of sacrificial pigeons and doves in Leviticus 1:14, 5:7, 12:6–8, 14:22, and 15:29; and Numbers 6:10.[97]

The Mishnah taught that they buried the cut hair of a nazirite.[98]

Eli and Samuel (1780 painting by John Singleton Copley)

Queen Helena of Adiabene converted to Judaism. When her son went to war, she vowed that if he returned in peace, she would be a nazirite for seven years. Her son did return, and she observed her nazirite vow for seven years. At the end of the seven years, she went to the Land of Israel and the House of Hillel ruled that she had to be a nazirite for seven more years. Towards the end of this seven years, she contracted ritual defilement, and so altogether she was a nazirite for 21 years. Rabbi Judah said that she was a nazirite for only 14 years (plus 30 days). If a person vowed a naziriteship of long duration and completed it and then arrives in the Land of Israel, the House of Shammai taught that the person would then need to be a nazirite for 30 more days, but House of Hillel taught that the person’s naziriteship began for its full term again as at the first.[99]

The Mishnah reported that Rabbi Nehorai taught that Samuel was a nazirite, as in 1 Samuel 1:11, Samuel’s mother Hannah vowed, “and no razor (מוֹרָה, morah) shall come upon his head.” Similarly, in Judges 13:5 (in the haftarah for the parashah), an angel told Samson’s mother, “no razor (מוֹרָה, morah) shall come upon his head; for the child shall be a nazirite unto God from the womb.” Just as Scripture uses “razor” (מוֹרָה, morah) in the case of Samson to show that he was a nazirite, so Scripture must use “razor” (מוֹרָה, morah) in the case of Samuel to show that he was a nazirite.[100]

Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar taught that Numbers 6:11 required priests to "make atonement for" nazirites because the nazirites denied themselves wine. Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar thus reasoned that if nazirites were considered sinners because they denied themselves wine, then those who fast voluntarily or deprive themselves of other things are sinners, too.[101] But Rabbi Eleazar said that the nazirite was termed "holy," as Numbers 6:5 says, "he shall be holy, he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow long." Rabbi Eleazar thus reasoned that if nazirites were considered holy because they denied themselves just wine, then those who fast voluntarily are holy, too.[102]

It was taught in a Baraita that Rabbi Judah taught that the early pious ones were eager to bring a sin-offering, because God never caused them to sin. So they made a free-will nazirite vow to God, so as to be able to bring a sin-offering. But Rabbi Simeon taught that the early pious ones did not make nazirite vows. They would bring offerings freely, but they did not take nazirite vows, so as not to be designated sinners. For Numbers 6:11 says, “And [the priest] shall make atonement for him, for that he sinned against a soul.”[103]

Abaye summarized that Simeon the Just, Rabbi Simeon, and Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar all came to the same conclusion — that a nazirite was a sinner. The Gemara questioned whether Numbers 6:11 might refer only to a nazirite who became unclean. But the Gemara concluded that Numbers 6:11 says that the priest must “make atonement” because the nazirite who became unclean sinned twice (both by becoming a nazirite at all and by defiling his nazirite vow).[104]

Similarly, Rav taught that a person will have to give account on the judgment day for every good permissible thing that the person might have enjoyed and did not.[105]

Similarly, Hillel the Elder taught that washing one’s body in the bath-house was a religious duty. For if the statues of kings, which were inscribed in theatres and circuses, were scoured and washed by the person appointed to look after them, how much more should a person, who has been created in the Image and Likeness of God, as Genesis 9:6 says, “For in the image of God made He man.” A Midrash thus taught that Proverbs 11:17, “The merciful man does good to his own soul,” applies to this teaching of Hillel the Elder.[106]

A Midrash taught that the Priestly Blessing in Numbers 6:22–27 follows immediately the laws of the nazirite in Numbers 6:1–21 to teach that God commanded that just as a nazirite must not taste wine, so shall the priests must not taste wine when they are about to bless Israel. And for a like reason, the priests do not lift their hands in blessing during the afternoon service because of the possibility of intoxication.[107]

Rav Havivi (or some say Rav Assi) of Hozna'ah said to Rav Ashi that a Tanna taught that Aaron first said the Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:22–27 on "the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month" (Exodus 40:17, the first of Nisan), the same day that Moses erected the Tabernacle (as reported in Numbers 7:1), and the same day that the princes brought their first offerings (as reported in Numbers 7:2–3). A Tanna taught that the first of Nisan took ten crowns of distinction by virtue of the ten momentous events that occurred on that day. The first of Nisan was: (1) the first day of the Creation (as reported in Genesis 1:1–5), (2) the first day of the princes’ offerings (as reported in Numbers 7:10–17), (3) the first day for the priesthood to make the sacrificial offerings (as reported in Leviticus 9:1–21), (4) the first day for public sacrifice, (5) the first day for the descent of fire from Heaven (as reported in Leviticus 9:24), (6) the first for the priests’ eating of sacred food in the sacred area, (7) the first for the dwelling of the Shechinah in Israel (as implied by Exodus 25:8), (8) the first for the Priestly Blessing of Israel (as reported in Leviticus 9:22, employing the blessing prescribed by Numbers 6:22–27), (9) the first for the prohibition of the high places (as stated in Leviticus 17:3–4), and (10) the first of the months of the year (as instructed in Exodus 12:2).[108]

The Mishnah taught that the priests recited the Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:24–26 every day.[109]

Nachshon ben Amminadav (1511–1512 fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel)

Numbers chapter 7[edit]

The Midrash concluded that when Numbers 31:6 reports that “Moses sent . . . Phinehas the son of Eleazar the priest to the war with the holy vessels,” it refers to the Ark of the Covenant, to which Numbers 7:9 refers when it says, “the service of the holy things.” But Rabbi Johanan deduced from the reference of Exodus 29:29 to “the holy garments of Aaron” that Numbers 31:6 refers to the priestly garments containing the Urim and Thummim.[110]

The Sifra taught that the goat of the sin-offering about which Moses inquired in Leviticus 10:16 was the goat brought by Nachshon ben Amminadav, as reported in Numbers 7:12, 16.[111]

Noting the similarity of language between "This is the sacrifice of Aaron" in Leviticus 6:13 and "This is the sacrifice of Nahshon the son of Amminadab" and each of the other princes of the 12 tribes in Numbers 7:17–83, the Rabbis concluded that Aaron's sacrifice was as beloved to God as the sacrifices of the princes of the 12 tribes.[112]

A Midrash taught that the length of the Tabernacle courtyard reported in Exodus 27:18 at 100 cubits added to the length of the Tabernacle — 30 cubits — to total 130 cubits. And the Midrash taught that this number was alluded to when (as Numbers 7:37 reports) the prince of the Tribe of Simeon brought an offering of "one silver dish, the weight of which was 130 shekels." The Midrash taught that the dish was in allusion to the court that encompassed the Tabernacle as the sea encompasses the world.[113]

Rabbi Phinehas ben Yair taught that the 60 rams, 60 goats, and 60 lambs that Numbers 7:88 reports that the Israelites sacrificed as a dedication-offering of the altar symbolized (among other things) the 60 cities of the region of Argob that Deuteronomy 3:4 reports the Israelites conquered.[114]

Rabbi Azariah in the name of Rabbi Judah ben Rabbi Simon taught that the mode of conversation between God and Moses in the tent of meeting reported in Numbers 7:89 reflected that Israel had outgrown the infancy of its nationhood. Rabbi Azariah in the name of Rabbi Judah ben Rabbi Simon explained in a parable. A mortal king had a daughter whom he loved exceedingly. So long as his daughter was small, he would speak with her in public or in the courtyard. When she grew up and reached puberty, the king determined that it no longer befit his daughter's dignity for him to converse with her in public. So he directed that a pavilion be made for her so that he could speak with his daughter inside the pavilion. In the same way, when God saw the Israelites in Egypt, they were in the childhood of their nationhood, as Hosea 11:1 says, “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” When God saw the Israelites at Sinai, God spoke with them as Deuteronomy 5:4 says, “The Lord spoke with you face to face.” As soon as they received the Torah, became God’s nation, and said (as reported in Exodus 24:7), “All that the Lord has spoken will we do, and obey,” God observed that it was no longer in keeping with the dignity of God’s children that God should converse with them in the open. So God instructed the Israelites to make a Tabernacle, and when God needed to communicate with the Israelites, God did so from the Tabernacle. And thus Numbers 7:89 bears this out when it says, “And when Moses went into the tent of meeting that He might speak with him.”[115]

In medieval rabbinic interpretation[edit]

The parashah is discussed in these medieval rabbinic sources:

Maimonides

Numbers chapter 5[edit]

Maimonides taught that if a man had engaged in forbidden relations from the time that he attained the age of majority onward, the curse-bearing waters of Numbers 5:11–31 did not test the fidelity of his wife. Even if he engaged in relations with his fiancé while she was living in her father’s house (which the Rabbis prohibited) the waters did not test the fidelity of his wife. Maimonides derived this from Numbers 5:31, which states: “The man will then be free of sin, and the woman will bear [the burden of] her sin.” Maimonides taught that Numbers 5:31 implied that only when the man was “free of sin,” “the woman will bear [the burden of] her sin.”[116]

Numbers chapter 6[edit]

The Title Page of the Zohar

The Zohar found in the Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:24–26 components of God’s essential Name. In the Zohar, Rabbi Simeon taught from the Book of Mystery that the Divine Name has both a revealed and a concealed form. In its revealed form, it is written as the four-letter Name of God, the Tetragrammaton, but in its undisclosed form it is written in other letters, and this undisclosed form represents the most Recondite of all. In the Zohar, Rabbi Judah taught taught that even the revealed form of the Name is hidden under other letters (as the name ADoNaY, אֲדֹנָי, is hidden within ADNY, אדני) in order to screen the most Recondite of all. In the letters of God’s Name are concealed 22 attributes of Mercy, namely, the 13 attributes of God in Exodus 34:6–7 and nine attributes of the Mikroprosopus, the lesser revealed aspect of God. They all combine in one composite Name. When people were more reverent, the priests openly enunciated the Name in the hearing of all, but after irreverence became widespread, the Name became concealed under other letters. At the time when the Name was disclosed, the priest would concentrate his mind on its deep and inner meaning, and he would utter the Name in such a way as to accord with that meaning. But when irreverence became common in the world, he would conceal all within the written letters. The Zohar taught that Moses uttered the 22 letters in two sections, first in Exodus 34:6–7 in the attributes of God, and second in Numbers 14:18, when he uttered nine attributes of Mercy that are inherent in the Mikroprosopus, and which are radiated from the light of God. All this the priest combined together when he spread forth his hands to bless the people pursuant to Numbers 6:23–26, so that all the worlds received God’s blessings. It is for this reason that Numbers 6:23 says simply “saying” (אָמוֹר, amor), instead of the imperative form “say” (אִמְרִי, imri), in a reference to the hidden letters within the words of the Priestly Blessing. The word אָמוֹר, amor has in its letters the numerical value of 248 minus one (א equals 1; מ equals 40; ו equals 6; ר equals 200; and 1 + 40 + 6 + 200 = 247), equal to the number of a man’s bodily parts, excepting the one part on which all the rest depend. All these parts thus receive the Priestly Blessing as expressed in the three verses of Numbers 6:24–26.[117]

Commandments[edit]

According to Sefer ha-Chinuch, there are 7 positive and 11 negative commandments in the parashah.[118]

  • To send the impure from the Temple[119]
  • Impure people must not enter the Temple.[120]
  • To repent and confess wrongdoings[121]
  • To fulfill the laws of the sotah[122]
  • Not to put oil on the sotah's meal offering[123]
  • Not to put frankincense on the sotah's meal offering[124]
  • The nazarite must not drink wine, wine mixtures, or wine vinegar.[125]
  • The nazarite must not eat fresh grapes.[126]
  • The nazarite must not eat raisins.[127]
  • The nazarite must not eat grape seeds.[128]
  • The nazarite must not eat grape skins.[129]
  • The nazarite must not cut his or her hair.[130]
  • The nazarite must let his or her hair grow.[131]
  • The nazarite must not be under the same roof as a corpse.[132]
  • The nazarite must not come into contact with the dead.[133]
  • The nazarite must shave after bringing sacrifices upon completion of the nazirite period.[134]
  • The Kohanim must bless the Jewish nation daily.[135]
  • The Levites must transport the ark on their shoulders.[136]

In the liturgy[edit]

Reuven Hammer noted that Mishnah Tamid 5:1[137] recorded what was in effect the first siddur, as a part of which priests daily recited the Priestly Blessing of Numbers 6:24–26.[138]

Many Jews recite the Priestly Blessing, Numbers 6:24–26, as the first section of the Torah to which they turn after reciting the Blessings of the Torah in the morning.[139] And the Priestly Blessing is reflected in the closing prayer for peace of the Amidah prayer in each of the three prayer services.[140]

Haftarah[edit]

The haftarah for the parashah is Judges 13:2–25, the story of the birth of Samson, the nazirite.

The Offer of Manoah (1641 painting by Rembrandt)

Summary of the haftarah[edit]

Manoah's wife was barren, but an angel appeared and told her that she would bear a son.[141] The angel warned her not to drink wine or strong drink or eat any unclean thing, and foretold that no razor would come upon her son's head, for he would be nazirite from birth and would begin to save Israel from the Philistines.[142]

Manoah and wife sacrifice to God (painting from the 1250 Morgan Bible)

Manoah's wife told Manoah what happened, and Manoah entreated God to let the man of God come again and teach them what to do.[143] God heeded Manoah and sent the angel to the woman as she sat alone in the field.[144] Manoah's wife ran and told Manoah, and he followed her to the angel, and asked him whether he was the one who had spoken to his wife, and he said that he was.[145] Manoah asked the angel how they should raise the child, and the angel told him that they should do what he had told Manoah's wife: She was not to eat any product of the grapevine, drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing.[146]

Manoah asked the angel to stay so that they could serve him a meal.[147] But the angel told Manoah that even if he stayed, he would not eat, and if they wanted to make a burnt-offering, they should offer it to God.[148] Manoah did not recognize that he was an angel, and asked him for his name so that when his prophecy proved true, they could honor him.[149] But the angel asked why Manoah asked for his name, as it was hidden.[150]

So Manoah offered to God a young goat and a meal-offering, and as the flame went up off the altar toward heaven, the angel ascended in the flame and disappeared, and Manoah and his wife fell on their faces, as Manoah realized that he was an angel.[151] Manoah told his wife that they would surely die, as they had seen God, but she replied that if God had wanted to kill them, God would not have received the burnt-offering or shown them what God did.[152]

Samson Slays a Thousand Men (watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot)

And the woman bore a son and called him Samson, and the child grew, and God blessed him, and the God's spirit began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.[153]

Samson killed a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass (woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld from the 1860 Die Bibel in Bildern)

Connection between the haftarah and the parashah[edit]

Both the parashah[154] and the haftarah relate to the nazirite status.

Both the parashah and the haftarah speak of abstention from "wine and strong drink."[155] And both the parashah and the haftarah note that "no razor shall come upon his head."[156]

The parashah and the haftarah do differ, however, about some aspects of the nazirite status. While the parashah[157] addresses one voluntarily becoming a nazirite, the haftarah[158] speaks of one committed by another to nazirite status from birth. And while the parashah[159] contemplates the nazirite period coming to a close, the haftarah[160] envisions a lifetime commitment.

In his career after the haftarah, Samson proceeded to violate each of the three nazirite prohibitions. He apparently consumed intoxicants,[161] frequently came in contact with the dead,[162] and ultimately allowed his hair to be cut.[163]

The haftarah in classical rabbinic interpretation[edit]

The Gemara taught that Samson’s mother was named Zlelponith. The Gemara taught that the oral tradition passed along this fact to provide a reply to the heretics (should they ask why the written Torah does not supply the name of the mother of such an important figure).[164]

Further reading[edit]

The parashah has parallels or is discussed in these sources:

Hammurabi

Ancient[edit]

Biblical[edit]

Philo

Early nonrabbinic[edit]

Josephus

Classical rabbinic[edit]

  • Mishnah: Challah 1:6, 4:11; Orlah 1:7–8; Sukkah 4:1, 9–10; Megillah 3:6, 4:10; Moed Katan 3:1; Nazir 1:1–9:5; Sotah 1:1–9:15; Bava Kamma 9:5–12; Makkot 3:7–10; Avodah Zarah 5:9; Avot 5:21; Menachot 3:5–6; 5:3, 6; 6:1, 5; Chullin 13:10; Temurah 7:4; Meilah 3:2; Tamid 5:1, 7:2; Middot 2:5; Kinnim 1:1–3:6; Negaim 14:4; Parah 1:4; Niddah 5:6. Land of Israel, circa 200 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 75, 149, 158, 160, 286, 288, 321, 324, 327, 430–66, 524–26, 618, 672, 739, 742–44, 764, 835, 855–56, 869, 871, 876, 883–89, 1010, 1014, 1085. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
  • Tosefta: Demai 2:7; Maaser Sheni 3:11; Challah 2:8; Pisha (Pesachim) 8:9; Shekalim 3:26; Nedarim 1:1; Nazir 1:1–6:6; Sotah 1:1–15:15; Gittin 2:7; Bava Kamma 10:17–18; Makkot 3:5; Negaim 1:12; 4:12. Land of Israel, circa 300 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Tosefta: Translated from the Hebrew, with a New Introduction. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 1, pages 85, 313, 339, 510, 538, 785, 807–93, 901; volume 2, pages 1013, 1207, 1712, 1725. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002. ISBN 1-56563-642-2.
  • Sifre to Numbers 1–58. Land of Israel, circa 250–350 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Sifré to Numbers: An American Translation and Explanation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 1, pages 47–230. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986. ISBN 1-55540-008-6.
  • Sifra 45:1; 46:1; 47:1; 50:1; 51:2; 55:1; 63:2; 66:1; 77:1; 79:1; 81:1; 85:1; 87:1; 95:1; 101:1; 105:1; 188:3; 213:1; 230:1. Land of Israel, 4th century CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Sifra: An Analytical Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, volume 1, pages 255, 259, 265, 273, 277, 292, 318, 332; volume 2, pages 29, 37, 43–44, 57–58, 63, 97, 145, 158–59; 3:55, 175, 237. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988. Vol. 1 ISBN 1-55540-205-4. Vol. 2 ISBN 1-55540-206-2. Vol. 3 ISBN 1-55540-207-0.
  • Jerusalem Talmud: Demai 55b; Orlah 14b, 28a; Shabbat 5b; Pesachim 60a–b, 68b; Yoma 4b–5a, 50b; Sukkah 3b; Megillah 40b; Nazir 1a–; Sotah 1a–; Sanhedrin 3b. Land of Israel, circa 400 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Yerushalmi. Edited by Chaim Malinowitz, Yisroel Simcha Schorr, and Mordechai Marcus, volumes 4, 12–13, 19, 21–22, 26. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2007–2013.
  • Genesis Rabbah 3:9; 42:3; 43:8; 50:11; 53:6; 66:2; 72:5; 91:3; 97 (NV); 97:5. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Genesis. Translated by H. Freedman and Maurice Simon, volume 1, pages 25–26, 341–345, 357–58, 440–42, 466; volume 2, 601, 664–65, 833–36, 896–902, 942 (twice). London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  • Mekhilta of Rabbi Simeon 10:1; 58:1; 83:1. Land of Israel, 5th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Mekhilta de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai. Translated by W. David Nelson, pages 29, 259, 375. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2006. ISBN 0-8276-0799-7.
Talmud
Rashi

Medieval[edit]

  • Solomon ibn Gabirol. A Crown for the King, 21:257–58. Spain, 11th century. Translated by David R. Slavitt, pages 34–35. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-511962-2.
  • Rashi. Commentary. Numbers 4–7. Troyes, France, late 11th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashi. The Torah: With Rashi's Commentary Translated, Annotated, and Elucidated. Translated and annotated by Yisrael Isser Zvi Herczeg, volume 4, pages 35–85. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89906-029-3.
  • Rashbam. Commentary on the Torah. Troyes, early 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Rashbam’s Commentary on Leviticus and Numbers: An Annotated Translation. Edited and translated by Martin I. Lockshin, pages 167–79. Providence: Brown Judaic Studies, 2001. ISBN 1-930675-07-0.
Judah Halevi
  • Judah Halevi. Kuzari. 2:26; 3:53. Toledo, Spain, 1130–1140. Reprinted in, e.g., Jehuda Halevi. Kuzari: An Argument for the Faith of Israel. Introduction by Henry Slonimsky, pages 105, 181. New York: Schocken, 1964. ISBN 0-8052-0075-4.
  • Numbers Rabbah 1:1; 2:10; 3:12; 4:19–20; 6:1–14:22; 15:3, 5, 8; 18:3, 20–21; 20:19; 21:12; 22:4. 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, pages 8, 36, 90, 119, 124, 138, 157–484; volume 6, pages 485–641, 644, 646, 649, 710, 732, 735, 810, 838, 856. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  • Abraham ibn Ezra. Commentary on the Torah. Mid-12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Pentateuch: Numbers (Ba-Midbar). Translated and annotated by H. Norman Strickman and Arthur M. Silver, pages 31–55. New York: Menorah Publishing Company, 1999. ISBN 0-932232-09-4.
  • Maimonides. Mishneh Torah: Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah (The Laws that Are the Foundations of the Torah), chapter 7, ¶ 6. Egypt. Circa 1170–1180. Reprinted in, e.g., Mishneh Torah: Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah: The Laws which Are the Foundations of the Torah. Translated by Eliyahu Touger, volume 1. New York: Moznaim Publishing, 1989. ISBN 0940118-48-6.
Maimonides
Nachmanides
  • Hezekiah ben Manoah. Hizkuni. France, circa 1240. Reprinted in, e.g., Chizkiyahu ben Manoach. Chizkuni: Torah Commentary. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 3, pages 860–79. Jerusalem: Ktav Publishers, 2013. ISBN 1602-802-612.
  • Nachmanides. Commentary on the Torah. Jerusalem, circa 1270. Reprinted in, e.g., Ramban (Nachmanides): Commentary on the Torah: Numbers. Translated by Charles B. Chavel, volume 4, pages 37–67. New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1975. ISBN 0-88328-009-4.
The Zohar
  • Zohar, part 1, pages 120b, 199b, 211a, 248a; part 2, pages 6a, 24b, 75b, 79b, 107b, 140b, 221b; part 3, pages 38a, 121a–148b, 189a. Spain, late 13th century. Reprinted in, e.g., The Zohar. Translated by Harry Sperling and Maurice Simon. 5 volumes. London: Soncino Press, 1934.
  • Jacob ben Asher (Baal Ha-Turim). Rimze Ba'al ha-Turim. Early 14th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Baal Haturim Chumash: Bamidbar/Numbers. Translated by Eliyahu Touger; edited and annotated by Avie Gold, volume 4, pages 1389–441. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-57819-131-9.
  • Jacob ben Asher. Perush Al ha-Torah. Early 14th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Yaakov ben Asher. Tur on the Torah. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 3, pages 1025–44. Jerusalem: Lambda Publishers, 2005. ISBN 978-9657108765.
  • Isaac ben Moses Arama. Akedat Yizhak (The Binding of Isaac). Late 15th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Yitzchak Arama. Akeydat Yitzchak: Commentary of Rabbi Yitzchak Arama on the Torah. Translated and condensed by Eliyahu Munk, volume 2, pages 691–99. New York, Lambda Publishers, 2001. ISBN 965-7108-30-6.

Modern[edit]

  • Obadiah ben Jacob Sforno. Commentary on the Torah. Venice, 1567. Reprinted in, e.g., Sforno: Commentary on the Torah. Translation and explanatory notes by Raphael Pelcovitz, pages 660–81. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89906-268-7.
  • Moshe Alshich. Commentary on the Torah. Safed, circa 1593. Reprinted in, e.g., Moshe Alshich. Midrash of Rabbi Moshe Alshich on the Torah. Translated and annotated by Eliyahu Munk, volume 3, pages 801–13. New York, Lambda Publishers, 2000. ISBN 965-7108-13-6.
  • Avraham Yehoshua Heschel. Commentaries on the Torah. Cracow, Poland, mid 17th century. Compiled as Chanukat HaTorah. Edited by Chanoch Henoch Erzohn. Piotrkow, Poland, 1900. Reprinted in Avraham Yehoshua Heschel. Chanukas HaTorah: Mystical Insights of Rav Avraham Yehoshua Heschel on Chumash. Translated by Avraham Peretz Friedman, pages 243–46. Southfield, Michigan: Targum Press/Feldheim Publishers, 2004. ISBN 1-56871-303-7.
Hobbes
Luzzatto
Kook
  • Abraham Isaac Kook. The Lights of Penitence, 5:7. 1925. Reprinted in Abraham Isaac Kook: the Lights of Penitence, the Moral Principles, Lights of Holiness, Essays, Letters, and Poems. Translated by Ben Zion Bokser, page 55. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press 1978. ISBN 0-8091-2159-X.
  • I. Mendelsohn. "The Family in the Ancient Near East." Biblical Archaeologist, volume 11 (number 2) (1948).
  • H.C. Brichto. "The Case of the Sota and a Reconsideration of Biblical ‘Law.’" Hebrew Union College Annual, volume 46 (1975): pages 55–70.
  • Roland de Vaux. "Was There an Israelite Amphictyony?" Biblical Archaeology Review, volume 3 (number 2) (June 1977).
  • Jacob Milgrom. "The Case of the Suspected Adulteress, Numbers 5:11–31: Redaction and Meaning." In The Creation of Sacred Literature. Edited by Richard E. Friedman, pages 69–75. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1981. ISBN 0-520-09637-1.
  • Jacob Milgrom. "The Chieftain's Gifts: Numbers, Chapter 7," Hebrew Annual Review, volume 9 (1985): pages 221–225.
  • Steven D. Fraade. “Ascetical Aspects of Ancient Judaism.” In Jewish Spirituality: From the Bible through the Middle Ages. Edited by Arthur Green, pages 253–88. New York: Crossroads, 1986. 0-8245-0762-2.
  • Tikva Frymer-Kensky. "The Trial Before God of an Accused Adulteress." Bible Review, volume 2 (number 3) (Fall 1986).
  • Joel Roth. "The Status of Daughters of Kohanim and Leviyim for Aliyot." New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1989. OH 135:3.1989a. Reprinted in Responsa: 1980–1990: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by David J. Fine, pages 49, 54, 63 note 22. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2005. ISBN 0-916219-27-5. (implications for women's participation in aliyot of daughters of priests eating from nazir sacrifices).
  • Jacob Milgrom. The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation, pages 30–59, 343–66. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990. ISBN 0-8276-0329-0.
  • Baruch A. Levine. Numbers 1–20, volume 4, pages 163–266. New York: Anchor Bible, 1993. ISBN 0-385-15651-0.
  • Mary Douglas. In the Wilderness: The Doctrine of Defilement in the Book of Numbers, pages xix, 84, 103, 108–11, 120–21, 123–24, 126, 129, 137, 147–49, 151, 158, 160, 168, 170, 175, 180–81, 186, 199, 201, 232. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993. Reprinted 2004. ISBN 0-19-924541-X.
  • Mayer Rabinowitz. "Women Raise Your Hands." New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1994. OH 128:2.1994a. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, pages 9–12. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (Priestly Blessing).
  • Stanley Bramnick and Judah Kogen. "Should N'siat Kapayim Include B’not Kohanim?" New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 1994. OH 128:2.1994b. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, pages 13–15. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (Priestly Blessing).
  • Judith S. Antonelli. “Sotah: The Accused Wife.” In In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah, pages 336–47. Northvale, New Jersey: Jason Aronson, 1995. ISBN 1-56821-438-3.
  • Ellen Frankel. The Five Books of Miriam: A Woman’s Commentary on the Torah, pages 199–206. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1996. ISBN 0-399-14195-2.
  • Jacob Milgrom. "A Husband's Pride, A Mob's Prejudice: The public ordeal undergone by a suspected adulteress in Numbers 5 was meant not to humiliate her but to protect her." Bible Review, volume 12 (number 4) (August 1996).
  • William H.C. Propp. "Insight: Was Samuel a Naz[i]rite?" Bible Review, volume 14 (number 4) (August 1998).
  • Sarra Levine. “Inscribing jealousy on the Bodies of Women.” In The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Edited by Elyse Goldstein, pages 261–69. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-58023-076-8.
  • Elie Kaplan Spitz. "Mamzerut." New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2000. EH 4.2000a. Reprinted in Responsa: 1991–2000: The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Conservative Movement. Edited by Kassel Abelson and David J. Fine, pages 558, 583–84. New York: Rabbinical Assembly, 2002. ISBN 0-916219-19-4. (interpretation of the sotah ritual and its discontinuance).
  • Nili S. Fox. “Numbers.” In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 292–301. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
Plaut

External links[edit]

Old book bindings.jpg

Texts[edit]

Commentaries[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Torah Stats — Bemidbar". Akhlah Inc. Retrieved July 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ See, e.g., The Schottenstein Edition Interlinear Chumash: Bamidbar/Numbers. Edited by Menachem Davis, pages 28–59. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2007. ISBN 1-4226-0208-7.
  3. ^ Numbers 4:21–23.
  4. ^ Numbers 4:24–28.
  5. ^ Numbers 4:29–30.
  6. ^ Numbers 4:31–33.
  7. ^ Numbers 4:34–37.
  8. ^ Numbers 4:34–48.
  9. ^ Numbers 5:1–4.
  10. ^ Numbers 5:5–7.
  11. ^ Numbers 5:8.
  12. ^ Numbers 5:9–10.
  13. ^ Numbers 5:11–14.
  14. ^ Numbers 5:15.
  15. ^ Numbers 5:17.
  16. ^ Numbers 5:18–21.
  17. ^ Numbers 5:22.
  18. ^ Numbers 5:23–24.
  19. ^ Numbers 5:25–26.
  20. ^ Numbers 5:27–29.
  21. ^ Numbers 6:1–2.
  22. ^ Numbers 6:3–4.
  23. ^ Numbers 6:5.
  24. ^ Numbers 6:6–8.
  25. ^ Numbers 6:9.
  26. ^ Numbers 6:10–11.
  27. ^ Numbers 6:11–12.
  28. ^ Numbers 6:13–15.
  29. ^ Numbers 6:16–18.
  30. ^ Numbers 6:22–27.
  31. ^ Numbers 7:1.
  32. ^ Numbers 7:2–5.
  33. ^ Numbers 7:10–88.
  34. ^ Numbers 7:42–71.
  35. ^ Numbers 7:89.
  36. ^ See, e.g., "A Complete Triennial Cycle for Reading the Torah". The Jewish Theological Seminary. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  37. ^ For more on inner-Biblical interpretation, see, e.g., Benjamin D. Sommer. “Inner-biblical Interpretation.” In The Jewish Study Bible. Edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Zvi Brettler, pages 1829–35. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-19-529751-2.
  38. ^ Amos 2:11–12.
  39. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:1. 12th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, pages 157–58. London: Soncino Press, 1939. ISBN 0-900689-38-2.
  40. ^ For example, Genesis 46:11, Exodus 6:16, Numbers 3:17 and 26:57, and 1 Chronicles 6:1 and 23:6
  41. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:2. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, pages 159–62.
  42. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5.
  43. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:5. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, pages 168–69.
  44. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:4. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5, pages 166–68.
  45. ^ Numbers Rabbah 3:12.
  46. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:4.
  47. ^ Babylonian Talmud Zevachim 59b–60a. Babylonia, 6th century. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Moshe Zev Einhorn, Henoch Moshe Levin, Michoel Weiner, Shlomo Fox-Ashrei, and Abba Zvi Naiman; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 56, pages 59b1–60a1. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995. ISBN 1-57819-614-0.
  48. ^ Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 121b.
  49. ^ Tosefta Shekalim 3:26. See also Numbers Rabbah 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5.
  50. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5.
  51. ^ Numbers Rabbah 6:7. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 5. See also Mishnah Avot 5:21. Land of Israel, circa 200 CE. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 685. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988. ISBN 0-300-05022-4.
  52. ^ Babylonian Talmud Arakhin 11a.
  53. ^ Babylonian Talmud Gittin 60a.
  54. ^ Mishnah Bava Kamma 9:5–12. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 524–26. Tosefta Bava Kamma 9:19, 10:1–5, 17–18. Babylonian Talmud 103a–11a.
  55. ^ Mishnah Bava Kamma 1:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 503. Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 14b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Hillel Danziger and Yosaif Asher Weiss; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, volume 38, page 14b1. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 1995. ISBN 1-57819-634-5.
  56. ^ Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 15a. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Hillel Danziger and Yosaif Asher Weiss; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr, volume 38, page 15a1.
  57. ^ Mishnah Bava Kamma 9:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 524. Babylonian Talmud 103a–b.
  58. ^ Mishnah Bava Kamma 9:11–12. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 525–26. Babylonian Talmud Bava Kamma 110a. See also Tosefta Bava Kamma 10:17–18 (attributing to Rabbi Akiva).
  59. ^ Mishnah Sotah 1:1–9:15. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 447–66. Tosefta Sotah 1:1–15:15. Jerusalem Talmud Sotah 1a–. Babylonian Talmud Sotah 2a–49b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volumes 33a–b. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2000.
  60. ^ Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 63a.
  61. ^ Mishnah Sotah 1:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 447. Babylonian Talmud Sotah 2a.
  62. ^ Mishnah Sotah 1:2. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 447–48. Babylonian Talmud Sotah 2a.
  63. ^ Mishnah Sotah 5:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 454–55. Babylonian Talmud Sotah 27b. Reprinted in, e.g., Talmud Bavli. Elucidated by Eliezer Herzka, Moshe Zev Einhorn, Michoel Weiner, Dovid Kamenetsky, and Reuvein Dowek; edited by Yisroel Simcha Schorr and Chaim Malinowitz, volume 33b, page 27b1. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2000. ISBN 1-57819-673-6.
  64. ^ Babylonian Talmud Avodah Zarah 44a.
  65. ^ Deuteronomy Rabbah 7:1.
  66. ^ Mishnah Sotah 9:9. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 464. Babylonian Talmud Sotah 47a.
  67. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:1–9:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 430–47. Tosefta Nazir 1:1–6:6. Jerusalem Talmud Nazir 1a–. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 2a–66b.
  68. ^ Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 63a, Sotah 2a.
  69. ^ Numbers Rabbah 10:1.
  70. ^ Numbers Rabbah 10:2.
  71. ^ Mishnah Niddah 5:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 1085. Babylonian Talmud Niddah 45b.
  72. ^ Sifre to Numbers 22:3.
  73. ^ Sifre to Numbers 22:4.
  74. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 430–31. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 2a.
  75. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:2. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 431. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 3b.
  76. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:2. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 431. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 4a.
  77. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:3, 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 431, 440. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 5a, 39a.
  78. ^ Sifre to Numbers 22:1.
  79. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 431. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 7a.
  80. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 431. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 7b.
  81. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:4. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 431. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 8a.
  82. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 431–32. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 8a.
  83. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 432. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 8a.
  84. ^ Mishnah Nazir 1:7. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 432. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 8a.
  85. ^ Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 9b. Numbers Rabbah 10:7.
  86. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:1, 5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 439–41. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 34a–b, 44a.
  87. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 439–40. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 34a–b.
  88. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:2. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 440. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 34b.
  89. ^ Mishnah Sukkah 4:1, 9–10 Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 286, 288. Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 42b, 48a–50a
  90. ^ Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 60b.
  91. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 440. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 39a.
  92. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:3. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 440. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 42a.
  93. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:4. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 440. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 42a.
  94. ^ Mishnah Nazir 6:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 440–41. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 44a.
  95. ^ Sifre to Numbers 26:2. See also Numbers Rabbah 10:11.
  96. ^ Mishnah Makkot 3:9. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 618. Babylonian Talmud Makkot 21b.
  97. ^ Mishnah Kinnim 1:1–3:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, pages 883–89.
  98. ^ Mishnah Temurah 7:4. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 835.
  99. ^ Mishnah Nazir 3:6. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 435. Babylonian Talmud Nazir 19b–20a.
  100. ^ Mishnah Nazir 9:5. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 447.
  101. ^ Babylonian Talmud Taanit 11a, Nedarim 10a, Nazir 19a.
  102. ^ Babylonian Talmud Taanit 11a.
  103. ^ Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 10a.
  104. ^ Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 10a.
  105. ^ Jerusalem Talmud Kiddushin 4:12.
  106. ^ Leviticus Rabbah 34:3.
  107. ^ Numbers Rabbah 10:1.
  108. ^ Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 87b.
  109. ^ Mishnah Tamid 5:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 869. Babylonian Talmud Tamid 32b.
  110. ^ Numbers Rabbah 22:4. Reprinted in, e.g., Midrash Rabbah: Numbers. Translated by Judah J. Slotki, volume 6, pages 855–56.
  111. ^ Sifra Shemini Prereq 102:1.
  112. ^ Leviticus Rabbah 8:3.
  113. ^ Numbers Rabbah 13:19.
  114. ^ Numbers Rabbah 16:18.
  115. ^ Numbers Rabbah 12:4. See also Pesikta de-Rav Kahana 1:2, attributing the parable to Rabbi Judah.
  116. ^ Maimonides. Mishneh Torah: Hilchot Sotah (The Laws of a Sotah), chapter 2, ¶ 8. Egypt. Circa 1170–1180. Reprinted in, e.g., Mishneh Torah: Hilchot Yibbum Va’Chalitzah (The Laws of Yibbum and Chalitzah): and Hilchot Na’arah Betulah (The Laws of a Virgin Maiden): and Hilchot Sotah (The Laws Pertaining to a Sotah). Translated by Eliyahu Touger, volume 18, pages 204–05. New York: Moznaim Publishing, 1995. ISBN 1-885220-04-9.
  117. ^ Zohar, Bemidbar, section 3, pages 146b–47a. Spain, late 13th century. Reprinted in, e.g., The Zohar. Translated by Maurice Simon and Harry Sperling, volume 5, pages 195-96. London: Soncino Press, 1934.
  118. ^ Sefer HaHinnuch: The Book of [Mitzvah] Education. Translated by Charles Wengrov, volume 4, pages 2–79. Jerusalem: Feldheim Publishers, 1988. ISBN 0-87306-457-7.
  119. ^ Numbers 5:2.
  120. ^ Numbers 5:3.
  121. ^ Numbers 5:7.
  122. ^ Numbers 5:11–15.
  123. ^ Numbers 5:15.
  124. ^ Numbers 5:15.
  125. ^ Numbers 6:3.
  126. ^ Numbers 6:3.
  127. ^ Numbers 6:3.
  128. ^ Numbers 6:4.
  129. ^ Numbers 6:4.
  130. ^ Numbers 6:5.
  131. ^ Numbers 6:5.
  132. ^ Numbers 6:6.
  133. ^ Numbers 6:7.
  134. ^ Numbers 6:9.
  135. ^ Numbers 6:23.
  136. ^ Numbers 7:9.
  137. ^ Mishnah Tamid 5:1. Reprinted in, e.g., The Mishnah: A New Translation. Translated by Jacob Neusner, page 869.
  138. ^ Reuven Hammer. Entering Jewish Prayer: A Guide to Personal Devotion and the Worship Service, pages 76–82. New York: Schocken, 1995. ISBN 0-8052-1022-9.
  139. ^ Menachem Davis. The Schottenstein Edition Siddur for Weekdays with an Interlinear Translation, page 20. Brooklyn: Mesorah Publications, 2002. ISBN 1-57819-686-8.
  140. ^ Reuven Hammer. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals, page 9. New York: The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003. ISBN 0-916219-20-8.
  141. ^ Judges 13:2–3.
  142. ^ Judges 13:4–5.
  143. ^ Judges 13:6–8.
  144. ^ Judges 13:9.
  145. ^ Judges 13:10–11.
  146. ^ Judges 13:13–14.
  147. ^ Judges 13:15.
  148. ^ Judges 13:16.
  149. ^ Judges 13:16–17.
  150. ^ Judges 13:18.
  151. ^ Judges 13:19–21.
  152. ^ Judges 13:22–23.
  153. ^ Judges 13:24–25.
  154. ^ in Numbers 6:1–21.
  155. ^ Numbers 6:3; Judges 13:4.
  156. ^ Numbers 6:5; Judges 13:5.
  157. ^ Numbers 6:2.
  158. ^ Judges 13:5.
  159. ^ Numbers 6:13.
  160. ^ Judges 13:7.
  161. ^ See Judges 14:10.
  162. ^ See Judges 14:8–9; 15:8, 15.
  163. ^ See Judges 16:17–19.
  164. ^ Babylonian Talmud Bava Batra 91a.