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May 28, 2009 - Image 45

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-05-28

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Indulge Or Deny?
Moderation Is Key

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Shabbat Shavuot (Parshat Naso 1):
Deuteronomy 14:22-16:17; Numbers
28:26-31; Habakuk 3:1-19.

I

have not had a haircut in a year
a bris or baby naming.
in a half. Not even a trim. To the
Moses Maimonides, the Rambam,
outside world, it is either a sign
states we all must strive to find a
that I like my hair long or I am wait-
middle road, moderation. He feels
ing until my hair is long enough to
that the Torah forbids us from
donate it. The truth is the latter, and I abstaining from the joys in life. God
am planning to make my donation in created a beautiful world full of
a few weeks.
beauty for us to enjoy.
Had I lived in ancient
We all must strive to
find that middle path
times, I might have been
mistaken for a nazir
and work toward a
because one of the restric-
life that is defined by
moderation. Perhaps we
tions placed upon the nazir
was that they were not
can learn from the life
allowed to cut their hair,
of the nazir how to say
not allowed to drink wine
no to things that would
or consume any grape
endanger our health
or take away from our
products or other intoxi-
Rabbi
cants or be around a dead
pursuit towards a life of
Jennifer
body. Through such absti-
holiness.
Kaluzny
Maybe we can learn
nence, the nazir, man or
Special to the
woman, dedicated himself
from them how to live
Jewish News
with less and share more
to God.
of what we have with
Though I consider myself
dedicated to God both through my
others who are less fortunate. Maybe
personal devotion and my profes-
we can learn how to be less vain,
how to appreciate time alone and the
sional dedication, my similarities
with a nazir end at my hair. For
importance of following through on
someone taking this vow, be it for
the vows and commitments that we
a short period of time or for a life-
make to others.
time, as in the case of Samuel, the
I made a vow to grow my hair
goal was a closer relationship with
and donate it, which has taught me
a lesson about vanity and how I
God through self-denial, the repres-
sion of physical needs and desires.
might help someone else. After I have
My approach to God is through joy,
fulfilled this vow, I hope that I have
celebration, prayer and community;
the strength to make another that is
hardly the life of an ascetic.
just as meaningful as this one has
When I read passages like this
been.
in the Torah, I try to apply it to life
today. How would choosing the life of Jennifer Kaluzny is a rabbi at Temple
Israel in West Bloomfield.
a nazir affect Jews and Jewish prac-
tice today?
Think about the excitement of a
child's first haircut. Many parents
Conversations
save that first lock of hair that is cut
Have you ever taken a vow in
to mark a rite of passage, a sign of
your life to abstain from eating
growth and change.
something or doing something?
A cup of wine unites two souls
Were you able to keep that
together under the chuppah. We pray
vow? Do you believe that the
that this is just the first cup that
life of the nazir is in line with
the couple will share in their lives
what Judaism teaches?
together and that, God willing, some
of those future cups will be shared at

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