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Nazirite

What Is a Nazir, and Why the Wild Hair?

Like many prophets, a nazirite once characterized holy people living on the periphery of society, with wild flowing hair to mark their separate status. Some were divine messengers, like the prophets Elijah and Samuel. Others were warriors, like Samson, a wild-man warrior reminiscent of the Sumerian hero Enkidu. The priestly legislation neutralizes the nazir, making the hair itself the focus.

Dr.

Richard Lederman

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Naso: Alleviating Intense Emotions

A New Look at the Meaning of the Sotah and Nazir Rituals

Prof. Rabbi

Stephen A. Geller

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Queen Helena of Adiabene and Her Sons in Midrash and History

Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews, tells the story of Queen Helena of Adiabene and her sons Kings Izates II and Monobazus II, and how they converted to Judaism in the mid-first century C.E. Rabbinic literature preserves several anecdotes about this family, such Helena’s nazirite vow and her giant sukkah, and the circumcision of her two sons.

Dr.

Malka Z. Simkovich

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The Concept of Kedusha (Sanctity)

In the Priestly Torah and the Holiness School

Prof.

Israel Knohl

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Samson: What Kind of Nazirite Was He?

The Critical and Traditional Approaches

Dr.

Ely Levine

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Can a Husband Annul His Wife’s Nazirite Vow?

Numbers 6 allows women to take the nazirite vow, rendering them “holy to YHWH” with a temporary, quasi-priestly status. Numbers 30, however, grants fathers and husbands veto power over vows made by women under their auspices, but without mentioning the nazirite vow. How are we to understand the relationship between these two chapters?  

Prof.

​Francis Landy

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Who Was Samson’s Real Father?

Samson’s birth story deprecates Samson’s father, Manoah; this serves to highlight the identity of his real father: The angel of YHWH did more than announce Samson’s birth to Manoah’s wife.

Prof.

Marc Zvi Brettler

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Birkat Kohanim: The Magic of a Blessing

Why was the priestly benediction placed together with the laws of nazir and the laws of sotah

Prof.

Shawna Dolansky

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Shekhar: Is it Wine or Beer?

The nazir must abstain from shekhar (שֵׁכָר), and it must be poured on the altar as a libation – but what is it? Understanding the ecology of ancient Israel can help answer the question.

Dr.

Elaine Goodfriend

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