Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Haftorah Beam - Nasso

OK, back to work!

The Torah portion for Nasso includes the laws of the Nazir, and the Haftorah recounts the story of one of the most famous Nazirim, Samson.

Most of the text pertains to the preparations undertaken by Samson's parents, from the announcement by the angel to the mother-to-be:
"You are barren and have borne no children; but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Now be careful not to drink wine or other intoxicant, or to eat anything unclean. 5 For you are going to conceive and bear a son; let no razor touch his head, for the boy is to be a nazirite to God from the womb on. He shall be the first to deliver Israel from the Philistines."

She repeats this announcement to her husband, who disbelieves her, and entreats G*d to send the messenger again.  The angel reappears, and repeats the same instructions.  When the angel refuses a reward for these news, the man becomes suspicious:
 17 So Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "What is your name? We should like to honor you when your words come true." 18 The angel said to him, "You must not ask for my name; it is unknowable!"

Manoah and his wife proceed to offer a sacrifice to G*d, which is consumed (accepted).  Even then, Manoah fears the implications, only to be reassured by his wife:
22 And Manoah said to his wife, "We shall surely die, for we have seen a divine being." 23 But his wife said to him, "Had the Lord meant to take our lives, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and meal offering from us, nor let us see all these things; and He would not have made such an announcement to us."

And she, in fact, has the last word:
24 The woman bore a son, and she named him Samson. The boy grew up, and the Lord blessed him.
This mother, who is never named, understood what was going on at each stage. It would have been so easy to get frustrated with Manoah and his insistence on second-guessing her.  But she did not do that.  She patiently supported him in seeking additional information from the angel, and reassured him without belittling his concerns.  She was truly an Eshet Chayil.

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