Naso 5762

Posted on March 23, 2011

by Hadar Schwartz

Shabbat Shalom! This Shabbat we read Parashat Naso. In Parashat Naso, we read about the treatment of a woman who has been accused of adultery, a Nazir, and about the Birkat Cohanim, among many other fascinating topics. The beginning of Parashat Naso focuses on people who have become impure.

God says to Moshe: “Remove male and female alike; put them outside the camp so that they do not defile the camp of those in whose midst I dwell” (Bemidbar 5:3). God, through saying this to Moshe, is implying that God is with those in the camp and therefore no longer with those who are impure. It seems rather disturbing that God can leave a person and then return at God’s convenience.

I thought of two possibilities of what this verse could mean. First, as we previously understood, God actually leaves the people’s midst. Maybe, God leaves our midst numerous times in each of our lives and it is then when bad things happen. Bad things must happen but God does not want to be a part of them. I am still troubled with this explanation though because it seems that God leaves the people because of one of their faults. Then bad things would be punishments which we do not really believe in today. The other possibility is that God is with those in the camp and with those outside. God is with those that really need God, and God is even more a part of them. God is so close to those people, helping them heal and guiding them, that the people and God become one. God is not with the person, God is a part of the person.

Just as this verse can be interpreted in different ways, both pessimistically and optimistically, we too have the opportunity to view our lives in a positive light or in a negative light. We can always blame external forces for the problems we face or we can understand that life is often not fair. That knowledge should not deter us in the future. It is all in how you look at the glass-half full of orange juice or half empty of prune juice.