Ahavas Sholom – an Historic Landmark and Sacred Space

Newark's Last Remaining Synagogue born of the Great European Migration at the turn of the 20th Century

145 Broadway, Newark, NJ 07104
Phone: 973-485-2609 | Email: cahavassholom@optimum.net


Simon Says, June 2, 2023

I don’t know if the Nazarite vow, described in this week’s Torah portion, Naso, is original to the Israelites. 

This column derives from the website, “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online.”

The Nazarite vow described in the Torah was ancient.  The Torah doesn’t describe the Nazarite vow is new.  The question is raised:  Was the Nazarite vow native to the Israelites or was it of foreign origin? 

The Bible critics assign the Nazarite vow (Num. 6:1-21) to the Priestly Code and give the description of the Nazarite vow a late date (the middle of the fifth century b.c.e.).  The institution of the Nazarite vow was early. 

The Israelites fought with the Canaanites for centuries, and the Canaanites’ rituals were full of Dionysiac elements.  To separate Israelites from Canaanites, they needed to institutionalize the Nazarite vow:  abstinence of wine and beer.   

The story of Samson gives an example.  Samson was a judge in the time of Philistines.  He was a Nazarite.  He abstained from a wine and beer, and the Philistines had a Bacchanalian lifestyle.