Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89), Shavuot

First, an addendum to last week’s missive.  Regarding: “How did they identify who was among the 273 “extra” who paid?”  That is, the 273 first-born Israelite males 1 month+ in excess of the number of male Levites 1 month+
Stuart S. responded (thanks Stuart!) that Rashi concluded there was a lottery.  I also saw this in the Torah reading footnotes (ArtScroll edition) at services last Shabbat, as well as Midrashic musings on the reasons for the placement of the various tribes.  Next year.

This week, we continue and conclude the census and job descriptions of the Levite males who are between 30 and 50.  The Kohathites are to carry the most sacred objects of the Tabernacle, while the Gershonites and Merarites do the less glamorous heavy lifting, so those two houses get oxen and carts, part of the chieftains’ offering, to help them when the Israelites were to decamp (7:1-9).  The chieftains present identical offerings, detailed in Chapter 7, every single one of the 12 offerings stated explicitly, which is nice philosophically (each tribe counts as much as the others) and makes it easy, if a bit boring, for the Torah reader.  

In between the census of the Levites in Chapter 4 and the dedication of the Tabernacle in Chapter 7, the text addresses several specific situations that involve concerning holiness and/or ritual purity.  People who are ritually impure because of an eruption or contact with a corpse are to be removed from the camp for the prescribed time.  Wronging someone and then recognizing one’s guilt requires restitution plus a penalty and is regarded as breaking faith with the Lord.  A married woman who commits adultery has defiled herself and broken faith with her husband.  If he suspects her of adultery, he can bring his wife to the priest for the sotah ritual, a trial by ordeal involving drinking bitter water that probably worked by a psychosomatic mechanism. Then there are the laws concerning the nazir (Nazirite), Samson being the most famous example.  A nazir vowed to refrain from wine and other alcohol, other grape products, cutting hair, shaving, and contact with a corpse.  The vow was for a defined period of time, say, 30 days, after which there were prescribed sacrifices, including shaving and burning his hair (any of you who’ve had run ins with a too-hot curling iron knows how this stinks.  Not at all a “sweet savor unto the Lord”.).  Fittingly, this week’s haftarah (Judges 13:2 – 25) describes the beginning of the story of Samson, who was supposed to be a Nazirite for life.  Maybe if he’d been the one to take the vow himself instead of his mother while he was in utero, the story might have ended differently.  That section concludes with what we refer to as the priestly benediction (24-26), now part of our liturgy.

Tuesday night begins the holiday of Shavuot (“weeks”, 7 weeks after the 2nd day of Pesach, whence its name), concluding the 49-day counting of the omer, and celebrating the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai.  Like Pesach and Sukkot, it is a harvest holiday (first fruits) and as major a holiday in Jewish law as those two.  Traditions include, but are not limited, all-night study the first night, eating dairy foods, Confirmation in some synagogues, and chanting the Book of Ruth, the Moabite convert to Judaism who was the ancestress of King David.  The Torah readings: First day: Exodus 19:1-20:23 [The Ten Commandments] and Numbers 28:26-31 [Shavuot sacrifices, also read the second day]. Second day:  Deuteronomy 15:19-16:17  Tithing, the sabbatical year remission of debts, and (of course) the holiday sacrifices.  

Shabbat shalom and an early Hag Sameach,
Jealousy…at its best!!
by mid_nite_poet » Feb 8 2009 2:26:05 am

A woman wanted to reach her husband on his mobile phone but discovered that she was out of credit, she instructed her son to use his own phone to pass across an urgent message to his daddy who was on site. After junior had called, he got back to Mommy to inform her that there was a lady that picked up Daddy’s phone the three times he tried reaching Dad on the mobile.

She waited impatiently for her husband to return from work and upon seeing him in the driveway; she rushed out and gave him a tight slap. Then she slapped him again for good measure.

People from the neighborhood rushed around to find out what the cause of the commotion was. The woman asked junior to tell everybody what the lady said to him when he called.

Junior said: “The subscriber you have dialed is not available at present. Please try again later.”

Top Ten Nazir Pet Peeves

by weekly bang staff
Posted: 06-07-2009(Viewed 1773 times)

10. Everyone confusing you for Matisyahu  [American Hasidic Jewish reggae musician]
9.   Singles Wine Tasting events
8.   Annoying “Hey There Delilah” song always on radio
7.   Only one at the Seder not trashed after cup 3
6.   Human Resources keeps making subtle comments about long man-braids not being appropriate for the office
5     People always asking if you have any weed, Phish tickets or weed
4.  “Nazir, not Navi
[prophet], I don’t know your future, damn it”
3    ‘Before-vow’ binge-drinking photos always popping up on Facebook
2    Bald alcoholic coroners
1    Samsonite briefcase gag gifts


Lame Shavuot Jokes To Keep You Occupied at 2AM [selected]

by shavout and about
Posted: 06-04-2008(Viewed 2589 times)

Here are a few really bad jokes from the clan to help keep you awake and amused throughout your Shavout night of ‘learning’. Enjoy!

Who is the #1 Movie star on Shavuos?
Blintz Eastwood

Why did the Yeshiva Boy ask about Sex on Shavout?
Accidentally read the ‘Book of Dr. Ruth’

What sports team is always favored to win on Shavuos?
The 49ers

What type of hotel room did Moshe request to God on Mount Sinai?
A Room with a ShaVIEWot

What breakfast cereal is most popular on Shavuos?
Honey Bunches of ShavuOATS.

What game do teenagers play on Shavuos?
Truth or Dairy

What’s the name of the restaurant that Ruth and Naomi founded?

Why is Moshe considered the most flagrant lawbreaker in the torah?
Because he broke all 10 commandments at once.

Where did the Jews eat after they got the 10 commandments?
The Golden Calfeteria

What did the rabbi respond when the congregant complained about a second day of Shavuos?
“It’s just an udder day”

A morah [teacher] was discussing getting the Ten Commandments with her 6 year old talmidim. After explaining the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother,” she asked “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” Without missing a beat one little boy answered, “Thou shall not kill.”

Barber jokes

I was getting my hair cut at a neighborhood shop, and I asked the barber when would be the best time to bring in my two-year-old son.
Without hesitation, the barber answered, “When he’s four.”

A really good-looking girl was giving a man a manicure in the barber shop.
 “How about a date when you finish work?” he asked.
“I can’t” she replied, “I am married.”
“So call up you husband and tell him you’re going to visit a  sick girlfriend,” said the man.
“Why don’t you tell him yourself” said the girl, “he’s the one shaving you.”

One barbershop in town put up a sign attacking the fancy salon down the block.
The sign said, “Why pay twenty dollars?  We give haircuts for two dollars.”
The salon got even by putting up a sign of its own stating,
“We repair two-dollar haircuts!”

Jewish Ice Cream (oldie but goodie)

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is now available in Israel in the following flavors:

Wailing Wallnut


Mazel Toffee


Oy Ge-malt

Mi Ka-mocha

Bernard Malamint

Berry Pr’i Hagafen

Choc-Eilat Chip

Simchas T’Oreo

It should be noted that all of these flavors come in either a cup or a Cohen…….

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