19 May NASO- DECLUTTERING OUR LIVES
All of us, I imagine, find life stressful. But at least for most of us, it doesn’t have to be this way.
The Torah in Parashat Naso discusses the laws of a nazir – the person who decides to raise his spiritual level by spending a period of time – usually a month – refraining from wine.
After he completes this period, the Torah commands, חתפ†לא†ותוא†איבי†דעומ†להוא†– he is required to come to the Bet Ha’mikdash and bring special sacrifices. Rashi points out that the Torah does not say that the nazir should come to the Bet Ha’mikdash, but rather ותוא†איבי†– he is brought. Rashi explains this to mean, תא†איבי†ומצע†– “he brings himself.”
This sounds like a very strange thing to say. Why doesn’t the Torah simply state that the nazir comes? Why is the nazir described as “bringing himself”???
The answer, I believe, is that after observing this period, the nazir is able to find himself, his essence, his core, who he really is.
Marketers make us believe that our lives will be so much better if we purchase whatever it is they’re selling, go wherever it is they want us to pay to go, or do whatever it is they want us to pay to do.
Maybe in some situations this is true, but most of the time, it’s wrong. Very wrong.
As our Rabbis teach in Pirkeh Avot, הגאד†הברמ†≠םיסכנ†הברמ†– the more possessions a person has, the more worries he has. And they really meant it.
The more we have, the more we need to worry about. The more cars we have, the more trips to the garage we need to make. The more homes we own, the more leaks and electrical problems we need to deal with. The more luxury trips we take, the more we need to pack and rush to the airport.
That’s not to say it’s wrong to purchase more than one car or home, or to go on vacations. The point is that all these things come with a price beyond the dollar amount. Having extra things we don’t need, and doing extra things we don’t need to do, clutter our lives. They give us more stuff to think about and worry about. They distract us. They take us away from the things that matter the most.
The definition of “holiness” is knowing what one needs and what he does not need, what belongs in his life and what doesn’t, what deserves more attention and what deserves less or no attention.
This is what a nazir wants to do. He takes the courageous step of saying “no” to things he doesn’t need, and that would distract him from the things he does need. The nazir is the person who has the guts to say, “I don’t need the latest iPhone. I don’t need to make such a fancy wedding. I don’t need to go away on vacation. I don’t need to renovate again. I don’t need another suit or outfit. All these things make life complicated for no reason. I’m happier living simply.”
The nazir is the person who recognizes that a lean life is a happy life, that less so often is more, that keeping things simple eliminates unnecessary stress and makes life calmer.
ומצע†תא†איבי. The nazir gets rid of the clutter in his life so he can find himself, who he really is, what’s really important.
Let us follow the nazir’s example, and work to declutter our lives, because having more does not mean we’re better off – and often leads to more stress and less happiness.