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Q:

What is the meaning of that gemara that says that it’s a sin for a person to become a nazir because he’s taking away the pleasures of the world from himself?

A:

There’s a statement in the Gemara that a person who becomes a nazir is sinning against his body and he has to bring an offering to atone for that sin.  So we’ll explain it as follows:

Suppose there’s a couple, a man and a woman, and she is overweight.  So she decides that she has to reduce and therefore she and her husband are going on a diet.  

So he says, “What is it my fault that you want to reduce?”  

So she says, “I can’t help it. If we’ll put those appetizing foods on the table, then I’ll yield.  It can’t be helped.  You’re married to me!  We have to go together!”

Suppose, however, he says, “But I have to work.  You sit home all day long so you can get along with small things, but I have to work.  I have to eat a healthy breakfast to go out to work.”  And so he eats a big hearty breakfast and she sits there with her saliva drooling; she’s fighting to hold back her yetzer horah.

So he has to bring a korban, he has to atone.  He has to do some atonement for that.  He can’t help himself, he says, but he has to atone for what he’s doing to his wife. 

How does he atone?  So a wise husband will atone like this. From now on, when he sits down and eats breakfast he takes that one cracker she gives him and one glass of milk and he says a bracha achrona and then goes out to work. And he stops at a kosher restaurant before he goes to work and he fills himself up.  

Now it costs money, of course; it’s inconvenient.  But what doesn’t he do in order to help out his wife?  He has to atone. 

Now your body is married to your soul.  The body says, “I want to live a normal life. I want everything.”  

The soul says, “If I’ll give you everything, what’s going to happen to me?  I’ll be ruined if I yield to every whim; I want to be a nazir. I want to separate from this world to a certain extent in order to be more devoted to Hashem. I want to make progress in my life and I’m only living a short time in this world.”  The soul wants to make itself better.

So the body says, “Because you want to improve, I have to suffer?”

So the soul says, “It can’t be helped.  I have to do it. I’m going to become a nazir. But I’ll bring an atonement.  I’ll have to seek forgiveness for my sin against the body.”  

That is the principle that is involved here.

So you have to realize that even though you’re chastising your poor body in order to make progress with your soul, but you have to realize that you’re doing a wrong to the body.  The body is not yours to mistreat.  The body is like a child or an orphan given to you and it’s your ward.  And you have to make the body happy!  But in case you find it necessary to deny the body pleasures for your spiritual benefit, then you have to bring an offering to atone for the body.  You have to realize you did harm to the body.  

Only that the Torah says, “Go ahead and do it anyhow because you need it.”

TAPE # 495

By |2023-06-28T20:42:34+08:00June 12, 2022|Q & A|0 Comments

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