Ask The Rabbi

Well, I'll be a Nazarite!

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Nazarit Vow Today

Bob Lee from Jacksonville, Florida wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Can a man or woman take a Nazarite vow in these days? There is no Temple, but that hasn't stopped the Hebrew people from being Hebrew. So is there a way to take the vow of the Nazarite for a short period of time, or, because there is no Temple, could a man or woman take the vow and then keep it until the Temple is rebuilt? And may there be a Temple soon! Your opinions would be a blessing! Thanks!


Dear Bob Lee,

If a person vows to become a Nazarite, he or she would indeed be obligated in all the commandments pertaining to a Nazarite. For example, a Nazarite may not drink wine or eat any grape products, cut his hair, or come in contact with a dead body.

The Nazarite vow terminates by bringing offerings to the Temple. Since today there is no Temple, a Nazarite would remain a Nazarite forever. Rabbi Dovid Cohen, zatzal (father of the current Chief Rabbi of Haifa) took a Nazarite vow, and hence remained one his whole life. He was exceptional in this regard, and became known as the 'The Nazir.'

However, Rabbi Cohen was a renowned tzaddik - a very righteous person - in all areas of Jewish conduct, and he was a great Torah scholar. A person shouldn't even consider becoming a Nazarite unless he is of similar ilk. Taking a Nazarite vow smacks of haughtiness. Furthermore, it's virtually impossible to avoid all the transgressions involved. I've never heard of anybody in this generation becoming a Nazarite.


 
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