Parsha Poem: Nasso / נָשֹׂא

בְּמִדְבַּר / Bamidbar / Numbers 4:21-7:89: Read ithear itcolour it.

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image A man or a woman may vow to abstain,

a Nazir for the sake of Hashem,

No wine, new or old, nor no vinegar plain,

No grapes, nor the water which held them.


For as long as he chooses, no grapevines to eat,

No seeds nor their skins cross his lips,

No razor-trimmed hairs, soft,smooth and neat,

Nor the scissors’ sharp, cheerful snips.


With hair wooly-wild for Hashem’s holy sake,

Avoiding any contact with the dead;

No matter for family, no exception to make,

The crown of Hashem for his head.


And if he but chanced on a body lying there,

His sanctity lost, all nullified;

Counts seven pure days and then shaves his hair,

Holiness ended, his place is outside.


But if he stays pure to the very last day,

He brings lambs and a ram, and some cakes,

Which the kohen waves and takes them away,

And like a new man, he awakes.


What once was forbidden is back now again,

The raisins and grape juice and wine,

He’s free to leave, with no need to explain,

And whatever he does is just fine.

But how has he changed through this holy time,

Is he really so different now?

How does hair wooly, all caked with grime,

Become such a great, holy vow?


But in ancient times, well, it used to be thought,

That hair was most special indeed,

That deep inside it lay that sacred spot,

Where your innermost strength was freed.


By growing your hair, your spirit grew strong,

Your thoughts could be sacred and free;

The Nazir waited while it grew so long,

And he could explore sanctity.


But after it all, Hashem says to go down,

To descend from the lofty heights,

“Beloved one, you’ve surely earned your crown,

Performing My great ancient rites.”


But you must not keep all those truths deep inside,

No, take them and share them around;

Holiness lost if it can’t be applied.

Spread blessing wherever you next may be found.

שַׁבָּת שָׁלוֹם!


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