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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Bemidbar: Parashat Naso: Holiness Within

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

In this week's parasha, we have learn a tremendous lesson from the Nazir.

What is a Nazir?
A Nazir is someone who voluntarily agrees to refrain from drinking wine, cutting his hair, and having contact with the deceased.

One of the pesukim dealing with the Nazir states: "Qadosh Yihyeh, Gadel Pera Siar Rosho." - "Shall be Holy, He Shall let the locks of his hair of his head grow long."

In Masechet Taanit, Rab Elazar argues that the Nazir is as the pasuk says, "Qadosh" or "Holy". The Gemara also learns a qal vahomer, that if the Nazir, who only refrains from wine is considered Holy, then if when we fast and refrain from all food, we are definitely considered Holy.

However, Rab Elazar continues and also says, " LeOlam, Yimod Adam Assmo Ke'elu Qadosh Sharui Betoch Be'Meav" - "A person should always regard himself as if Holiness rests within his intestines." A person must also nourish the Holiness that reside in their intestines with food.

How can Rab Elazar say that it is good to fast (calling you "Qadosh" like the Nazir), but then say that holiness resides in you and that you need to nourish that holiness with food? Is it good to take a fast upon yourself or not?

The answer is simple: Only those who are able to fast are considered Holy when they fast. People who are unable to fast and yet fast anyway are actually called "cruel" by the Gemara, for they are ignoring and hurting the "holiness" within that they must nourish.

There is a pasuk: "In your midst is Holy, and I will not enter the city".

If a person ignores the holiness that resides in one's body, by fasting when they shouldn't or doing any harmful activity to one's health (i.e. smoking, eating unhealthy, driving recklessly, etc.), Hashem WILL enter "the city." Remember, the pasuk above says when our midst is Holy, and you do take of yourself, Hashem WILL NOT go in "the city."

What city is spoken about here?

The Yerushalyim of Heaven. If one does not take care of the holiness that resides in him, Hashem WILL leave this world and reside in the Yerushalyim of Heaven. If we do take care of the holiness within, Hashem will stay with us, in the Yerushalayim of Earth (current Yerushalyim in Israel) and dwell with us.

We must take care to provide for the "Holiness Within" - by physically caring for our bodies and by spiritually providing for our nefashot (souls) through learning and prayer. With Hashem's help, we will have the merit of having Hashem dwell in our Yerushalayim because of our special care of our "Holiness Within".

Needless to say... If we earn the power of having Hashem dwell in Yerushalayim, shouldn't we physically dwell there, and follow our Rabbi's example?

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