The Longest Torah Portion – Parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89)

I discuss the weekly Torah portion with Rabbi Rabbs every Monday at 7pm PST on my live cam and on YouTube.

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This week’s Torah portion is the longest of the year — Parashat Naso (Numbers 4:21-7:89).

* On this week’s show, the rabbi and I will name the ten Orthodox women in Pico-Robertson we suspect of committing adultery.

* When an Orthodox woman I know went out to eat at a kosher restaurant in my neighborhood with her brother and a couple of rabbis — not knowing the man was her brother — started making inquiries about whether or not she was having an affair.

* In the real world, jealous husbands beat their wives up or kill them. The Torah does not want that. Hence, the test for a woman suspected of adultery. Similar to parents to who want to kill their kids. They can’t. They must take the rebellious kids to the Beit Din (Jewish law court).

* By contrast, honor killings still occur among Muslims to the tune of thousands a year.

* In some societies, they’d uncover the woman’s breasts in such an ordeal or make her undergo other humiliations. Not in the Torah system.

* If you fail the ordeal, the belly distends and the thighs sag. I’ve seen some women like that in Pico-Robertson. Or is this belly sagging punishment a euphemism for abortion?

* In other ordeals in the ancient Near East, the adulterous woman would die.

* We don’t have any recorded instance of a woman being found guilty. The husband is going to be humiliated if the wife is not found guilty.

* Reflections on the Nazirite. The more you enjoy this world, the less spiritual you are? The closer to God?

* At the end of his or her term, the Nazirite has to bring a sin offering. If being a Nazir is a sin, why does the Torah offer this Nazirite system? Because the Torah understands that some people are into abstention.

* Nothing in the Torah about the Nazirite abstaining from sex, because this would effect the spouse. He is supposed to refrain from any cutting of his hair. This might effect the spouse negatively but tough titties.

* Torah teaches you not only how to pursue pleasure, but how to pursue ascetism. In much of Orthodoxy, there’s a move towards naziritism aka ascetism. More laws. More restrictions.

* There are many Hebrew words for sin. Perhaps the most common is cheit. The Hebrew for sin offering is a derivative of this word. It means missing the mark. A failure. Profound difference between the way Jews and Christians talk about sin. Remember the protagonist in There’s Something About Mary? He missed the mark and it ended up in his air.

* The purpose of Jews is to be a kingdom of priests. Priests to the rest of the world. They’re expected to change the world around them, just as people usually moderate their behavior when a Buddhist or Catholic priest is among them.

* What is the purpose of life? Judaism says it is to enjoy it.

* Which women are the most likely to pack on the pounds after marriage? It seems to me that they are black, latino and Orthodox Jewish women.

* How should heterosexuals keep their bar from going gay? Do we need anti-discrimination laws?

* Who would you like to see get the Republican nomination for president in 2012? I’d like Chris Christie or Paul Ryan.

* How often do you think about being reunited with loved ones in the world to come?

* Vaginal vs. clitoral orgasms. Where do you stand?

* One of the arguments against circumcision is that erotic sensations in the penis are lessened. I was circumcized but I still occasionally feel sensations down there particularly when I’m watching Fox News.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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