Good morning everyone and Shabbat shalom and thank you for joining me in celebrating my bar mitzvah. The name of my torah portion is Naso, which contains many things like the Kohannim blessing, the census and the sotah, but I will only focus on a few.
My first point is that God passed on laws like the law of Naziriteship, but discuss that later, he passes them on through Moses. Why would he pass it on to Moses? Surely the other Jews deserve to hear just as much as Moses? But, God says it through a certain person for a reason, and it’s a very logical reason: not to force the Jews. This is because if God were to appear to every single person and tell them “All right everyone, wake up! Time to do some good things today!” people would be forced to believe that God exists and be forced to pray because they know he exists. But, if he doesn’t show himself directly, they could choose whether God exists or not, thus giving them a choice. Also as many philosophers say “Man’s greatest gift from God is choice.” But our choices don’t come without responsibility and consequences. If you do something bad, you will most likely be punished in some way or another. If you are to take on a responsibility, you must commit yourself to ensure that you don’t fail. So, to prevent most bad choices from happening, we choose, God just nudges us in the right direction.
My second point is to do with the Nazirite vow, one of commitment and abnegation. Nazirites are Jews, simply more intense. One of the most famous nazirites was Samson, the really strong dude and the First Weight Lifter. There are 3 main laws of the nazirite:
• Nothing of the grapevine to avoid intoxication
• No cutting hair to show an unrestrained comment to ones vow, only allowing divine power to act in him and confidence in God's promise of strength to fulfill it.
• No contact with the dead to remain pure and clean.
If a nazirite breaks his vow he has to go through a series of correctional processes and offerings before he can continue his vow. Then there is also the sin offering or the chatat. At the end of every nazirites vow he must give a sin offering, but what has he done wrong? Many rabbis of today say that because the nazirite has tried too hard at being Jewish. And as many cultures, religions and races believe: “Your best is good enough.”
We can also say, between my 2 points, that commitment and choice are connected. Besides the fact that you can chose to commit, of which is what many nazirites do, because all choices take commitment and commitment requires responsibility. Without either, we wouldn’t have the world we have today.
How are commitment and choice connected? They are connected in that one can chose to commit to ones choice in order make it a meaningful choice. The nazarites choice came at great sacrifice but they were committed to this. All choices take commitment and commitment requires responsibility.
This relates to my Barmi in that I have chosen to have a Barmitzvah. I have chosen to commit to performing all of the the duties that are required. I have the destination in sight … and I have enjoyed the journey.