Community Torah Corner, June 10, 2022

Rabbi Mark Finkel
Pine Brook Jewish Center
Montville, NJ
Parashat Naso

This week we chant the sedra and haftarah of Naso, linked by the nazir, one who refrained from drinking alcohol and cutting hair, a stepping back from mainstream society. The haftarah heralds the birth of Samson, whose parents were instructed that mother and child follow nazarite practices. This story is one more biblical story of the birth of an extraordinary child: this child "shall be the first to deliver Israel..." (Judges 13:5)

The month of June lends itself to reflecting upon our children’s experiences this past year. Choosing Golda Och implies that our children will also deliver Israel. Samson’s one strength was … his strength; we wonder what paths and tools and strengths our children will develop as deliverers. Will it be facility with the siddur and the humash they receive in the Lower School? Will it be the beauty of their Hebrew speaking and writing? Will it be sharing the celebrations of becoming B'nai Mitzvah, fashioning friends and classmates into community? Will it be their love of Israel nurtured by their experiences on Na’ale and Neshama? Will it be their acts of tzedakah and tikkun olam: gifts from their heads, their hearts, their hands and their souls? Our children have many skills and extraordinary qualities.

I have always been struck when the haftarah ends with "The boy grew up and HaShem blessed him." (Judges 13:24) But none of Samson's exploits. That's for another chapter. For today, we leave knowing he is a deliverer and blessed.

Today we see our children, blessed with knowledge, skills, and tools that allows us, and more importantly, them to see them as deliverers. It allows them and us to dream dreams of deeds and adventures yet to come as they grow and mature into the next chapter.