Impure Prophecies

First posted on The Times of Israel at:

Baal Haturim Numbers: Naso

Impure Prophecies

It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow that weigh a man down. For the needs of today we have corresponding strength given. For the morrow we are told to trust. It is not ours yet. -George Macdonald

seanceThere is a special, self-chosen condition, that a person during biblical or temple times could elect for themselves. That condition is known as Nazir or Nazarite. There were three requirements for the Nazir: not consuming anything derived from grapes, not cutting their hair and not coming into contact with the dead.

A person chose to become a Nazir as a way to reach greater levels of holiness and become closer to God. At the end of the Nazir period, they would cut their hair and bring sacrifices in the Temple. During the heightened state of sanctity of the Nazir, it was apparently easier for them to feel the divine presence in their lives and perhaps even reach some minor levels of prophecy.

The Baal Haturim on Numbers 6:6 mentions an interesting reason why the Nazir had to avoid the dead during this period. He explains that in the case where the divine presence would rest upon the Nazir, were he to receive some prophetic vision, we don’t want anyone to assume or speculate that he might have consulted the dead for his otherworldly insights.

May we stick to pure and divine sources of information.

Shabbat Shalom,



To Jacky Catan and Joel Felder on their upcoming wedding and a future filled will blessings.

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