The parsha Naso continues the dedication of the Levites to service of the Tabernacle, and ends with the formal dedication of the Tabernacle with identical offerings from all 12 Tribes of Israel. (Note that the tribe of Levi makes the count 13 Tribes of Israel). In the middle of the parsha there are three unusual issues which are related, and today mostly considered anachronistic.
First the people who could contaminate the camp are removed, that is people with obvious running sores and the dead. Today this relates to obvious medical issues of illness, and the general guidance that people who are sick should self isolate from the general population.
Next is the Wayward wife (sotah), that is a pregnant woman with a totally jealous husband. She is being tested of possible adultery, but there are no witnesses. This ordeal is supposed to end with a miscarriage if she is guilty, or a happy and restored home if she brings the baby to term. The practice has no evidence that it was ever used and was formally abolished in 55 CE, near the end of the second Temple period.
Immediately following is the Nazarite vow. This is a potentially self serving vow of semi-isolation, and potentially chastity. Is this possibly linked with the proceeding issue of sotah, to give the wife a good excuse to distance herself from an outrageously jealous husband? No telling, but the order in the text infers a possible linkage.
Then the Tabernacle dedication concludes with the Aaronic benediction and 12 identical offerings, one from each tribe of Israel.
Well down load the notes and get a study group together to enjoy digging into Torah!
Here are some study notes:
Parsha Naso 5771.doc
Parsha Naso 5771.pdf