Student Teaching in the New Millenium

5771 Naso

In Numbers on June 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Holy. Disgusting.
Together, separated?
Apart by degrees.

I’ve read of Naso rendered as “to uplift”. My translations maintain “to count”. Which? One or the other? Or both? Does the word have the same root as “nassi” (chieftain)? And, in that case, to make these families “chieftains” of their duty? But in that case, why declare Ithamar over them?

What of Merari, who is spared this word?

The Torah more forcefully says to “serve the service of the service”. What is meant by this? Is this wholesome engagement in your work? Thorough self-becoming your convictions? Or to apply another Rabbi’s ideas about the Kohath, Gershon, and Merari families, can we render, “Study the Prayer of the Service”?

Does “eesh eesh” denote “all (wo)men” or stress the primacy of “each, each”?

Why render the Hebrew for the lepers here as “get them away from everyone” when the Hebrew seems to say “outside the camp of the children of Israel to camp so that I’ may dwell therein”? Could these people be Samson? And, perhaps, Samson unburdened with distractions?

How separated must Samson have felt.

What is the difference between the leper and the nazirite? Both are separations. One is “disgusting” and one is not. One is mandatory, the other by choice. And yet, these injunctions are placed nearby. Does the Torah say “separate but don’t despise. Both are a holy service”? Does the Prophet say “why worry about this stuff? The answer is within it”?

Is jealousy another form of separation? And by putting the woman under these conditions, does it test the woman’s mettle for separation? What about the man, who is already separated? Or is it a lesson in the ugliness of jealousy, as the pair in the Prophet are fine with a little divine guidance (from another “man”, no less) in conceiving? Does the Prophet chide “don’t be ridiculous. You claim to love this person, and you make them do that?”

The Prophet says that the woman ran to the husband. Does the Torah seem to say by satire how utterly stupid the barley test is, and is this why I can’t find it said anywhere that the woman actually consumes the barley and the water? Rather than causing a lot of women to die for the stupidity of men, does the Torah cause a lot of women to live to remind the men of their stupidity?

This is called the law of jealousy. What does this actually say about infidelity? And what about the man’s own role and tendencies?

Does the Prophet say “your wife runs to you. That’s my message. What she does to you, that’s your message.”?


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