Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)

This week’s Torah portion is the longest single portion in the annual cycle, 176 verses.  There’s a lot of repetition in Ch. 7, which hammers home that every single tribe gave identical gifts for the dedication of the Tabernacle, listing every single item given.  This repetition is usually interpreted to signify the innate equality of the tribes before the Lord and single out each leader on his day to honor him (Nachmanides, cited in A Daily Dose of Torah, Y. A. Weiss, ed., Vol. 9, p. 105).  I think, in this description and in all the details and variety of topics that follow, there’s an element of delaying, of fondly recalling all the good stuff and hope before disaster strikes the Israelites.

In the summer, my mind tends to wander more than usual, so I thought I’d repeat my comments from 2012 (with a couple of corrections as noted) on stream-of-consciousness in the design of this portion.

“This week’s portion contains various items which seem to be unconnected.  That means, of course, post-Biblical commentators have tried to find a connection.  I am particularly intrigued by that of a modern rabbi, Umberto Cassuto (1883-1951), who wrote that Biblical subject matter ‘was often linked by a process of thought and, in particular, word association, probably designed as an aid to memory.’  (Cassuto, Sefer Hakinus, 1947 lectures, p. 168, cited in N. Leibowitz, Studies in Bamidbar, pp. 38-9)

“First, we complete the census of the Levites and their job descriptions, only men aged 30 to 50 this time, since their work included  disassembling and carrying the Tabernacle through the wilderness, whence their early retirement.  Then, as we just finished talking about the camp, there’s a reminder to remove ritually unclean people from said camp. This brings to mind the offerings required as part of ritual purification, which brings in the verses about the guilt offering when one has done wrong (e.g., robbed someone), which ‘is breaking faith with’ (or ‘a trespass against’) the Lord.  The same language is used for a wife suspected of adultery; she is accused of breaking faith with her husband.  The ensuing jealousy ritual (sotah) involves not just having her drink ‘bitter waters’ in a trial by ordeal, but also uncovering her hair. 

“What follows next are laws concerning nazirites, which involves vowing not only to abstain from intoxicants and grapes and refrain from contact with a corpse, but also not to cut one’s hair or beard.  Becoming a nazirite was intended to enable a person to attain a holier state, temporarily (30 days or more) consecrating oneself to the Lord.  Samson, whose birth is foretold in this week’s haftarah (Judges 13:2-25), was an exception in that he did not choose this for himself and he was supposed to be a nazirite permanently.  Then what do we found find after this discussion of the holier-than-the rest nazirites (the rabbis were ambivalent about the practice)?  The priestly benediction (6:24-26), recited by those who were supposed to be continually focussed focused on holiness. 

“Continuing the theme of holiness and dedication to the Lord, the final chapter contains the list of gifts brought to dedicate the just-completed Tabernacle, twelve identical offerings, from one tribe each day, leading to the result of all this activity, 7:89: ‘When Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with Him, he would hear the Voice addressing him from above the cover that was on top of the Ark of the Pact between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.’

“I think it’s a neat way to look at the portion’s organization, as a sort of
stream of consciousness.  I don’t know if it’s a particularly effective
memory aid, not that you need much of one for 7:12-83, which describes the
12 identical offerings identically (except for the names of tribes and
chieftains), but it provides a different perspective.”

Shabbat shalom,


Quotes about Stream of Consciousness

. “My thoughts went round and round and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the ‘stream of consciousness’ type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink.”
Author: Barbara Pym

. “There’s a fine line between a stream of consciousness and a babbling brook to nowhere.”
Author: Dan Harmon

. “Hundreds of butterflies flitted in and out of sight like short-lived punctuation marks in a stream of consciousness without beginning or end.” 
Author: Haruki Murakami

. “Suppose you turn your attention inward in search of this ‘I’. You may encounter nothing more than an ever changing stream of consciousness, a flow of thoughts and feelings in which there is no real self to be discovered.”
Author: Jim Holt

. “I have a similar affection for the parenthesis (but I always take most of my parentheses out, so as not to call undue attention to the glaring fact that I cannot think in complete sentences, that I think only in short fragments or long, run-on thought relays that the literati call stream of consciousness but I still like to think of as disdain for the finality of the period).”
Author: Sarah Vowell


(sorry, I couldn’t resist)

tph trump hair


There are three ways a 
man wears his 
hair – parted- unparted or departed


Funny Joke: Jealous Husband

November 24, 2015 | By Akpos1 Comment

HUSBAND: My wife where are you?

WIFE: At home love.

HUSBAND: Are you sure?

WIFE: Yes.

HUSBAND: Turn on the blender.

WIFE: (turns blender on) reeereeeereeee

HUSBAND: Ok my love goodbye.

Another day

HUSBAND: My wife where are you?

WIFE: At home love

HUSBAND: Are you sure?


HUSBAND: Turn on the blender

WIFE: (turns blender on) reeereeeereeee

HUSBAND: Ok my love goodbye

The next day, the husband decides to go home without notice, and finds his son alone and he asked him son where is your mother?

SON: I don’t know, she went out with the blender.


Drunk Driver Test 

Paul, an accomplished juggler was driving to his next performance in Baltimore when he is stopped by the Highway patrol.

‘What are these matches and lighter fluid doing in your car?’ enquires the cop.

‘I’m a juggler and I juggle flaming torches in my act,’ announces Paul amiably.

‘Oh yeah?’ says the doubtful cop. ‘Let’s see you do it then.’

Sighing, Paul the juggler climbs out of his motor and starts juggling the blazing torches masterfully.

A couple driving by slows down to watch. ‘Wow,’ says the driver to his wife. ‘I’m glad I quit drinking. Look at the test they’re giving now.’


Category: On 1 Foot
Parshas Nasso
by S. Galena Posted: 07-09-2006(Viewed 1149 times) 

12 Princes came to the Mishkan (Tabernacle) dedication party all bringing the same gifts.
Princes: “We all brought the same thing?!”

Torah: “Let me write this all down… Name please? Tribe? Gift? Next….”

Longest parsha ever. 



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