The Level of Nezirut
The level of nezirut is lofty and sublime, beyond any end or limit.
The Ramak wrote in Or Yakar, volume 13, Parashat Naso, page 248:
“What is ki yafli?” I.e., why did it not write “if a man vows (yiddor) the vow of a nazir”?
“To separate from the rest of the people of the world.” As it concludes below, Israel are the choicest part of the world, and the tribe of Levi are the choicest part of Israel, and the nazir is the choicest of all of them.
“To sanctify himself in the supreme aspect,” which are the supreme hairs.
In other words, among the community of Israel, the nazir is the choicest of all of them.
Rabbeinu Bachya wrote in his commentary to BaMidbar 6:3:
“If a person expressly vows the vow of a nazir” – I have already explained in Parashat Emor what the kohen gadol corresponds to. Yet the nazir is above him, because he is above the middot, clinging to the supreme mercy itself. And since he is crowned with the virtue of nezirut, he is called nazir, which comes from the word for crown, and this is the meaning of “for his God’s crown (nezer) is on his head.”
In other words, the level of the nazir is above the level of the kohen gadol.
Maharam Alshich writes in his commentary to Parashat Naso, chapter 6:
Now, HaKadosh Baruch Hu wanted to teach His holy nation Israel knowledge. Israel should not say: Is it not true that God separated the tribe of Levi, and from them the seed of Aharon, and from them the kohen gadol, who may be called holy? Is holiness then dependent on progenitors, and not on good choices? “Would this not be considered foreign?” (Hoshea 8:12).
Therefore, God came to teach us that it is not so. For each and every person is capable of separating from worldly matters, and to sanctify himself up until the limits of his good choice, and he may be called holy. And he would also be considered like the kohen gadol who may not contaminate himself for his father, etc. Furthermore, regarding the kohen gadol it is said, “To his father … for the crown of his God’s anointment is upon his head” (VaYikra 21:12) – the matter is attributed to something external, the oil. But with this one, the attribution is only to himself, because he is attached to God, so that it says about him, “For the crown of his God is upon his head.”
In other words, the holiness of the nazir is above the holiness of the kohen gadol.
The Ramak wrote in Pardes Rimmonim 4:6:
The scalp is the part of the skull at the top which covers the brain, and it is the keter that crowns chochmah, and it is above all. And if we accept this text, this is its explanation: For below the keter there is the forehead of ze’er anpin that puts on tefillin, which are four sections, four lights: קדש is chochmah; והיה כי יביאך is binah; שמע is chesed; והיה אם שמוע is gevurah. And they are the tefillin on the head of ze’er anpin. However, on the head of arich anpin, there are no tefillin, because there is no atzilut above its atzilut. And therefore, it is called “the scalp that does not put on tefillin.”
In other words, the aspect that the nazir is attached to is the highest of all the aspects.
It is brought in Zohar, Parashat Naso 3:127a that the nazir sanctifies himself early on in this world in the holiness of his creator, and he needs to grow the hair of his head and beard, and separate from wine, alcohol and grapes since they are all from the left side. And the secret of the matter is that he is called “a nazir of Elohim,” and not “a nazir of HaShem,” meaning that he separates entirely from judgment:
Come and see: “If a man or a woman expressly vows the vow of a nazir” (BaMidbar 6:2), to preempt in this world to sanctify himself in the holiness of his master.
“He shall separate himself from wine and alcohol; he shall not drink wine vinegar or alcohol vinegar,” etc. Here it is necessary to examine: Since wine is forbidden to him, why grapes? For by the kohanim it is written (VaYikra 10:9): “You shall drink no wine or alcohol,” etc. Could grapes be included too? No, grapes are permitted. Here, by a nazir, why did it forbid him grapes?
Rather, this matter and this word is a supreme secret, to separate from strict judgment in everything. Now, it is known that the tree that Adam HaRishon sinned with was grapes. And this is the secret of the matter, for wine and alcohol and grapes are united in one side: Wine above, alcohol to the left, for alcohol comes from wine, grapes all gathered together, and this is the tree that Adam HaRishon sinned with. Therefore, all of it is united in one side.
And if you say that this nazir is abandoning the supreme faithfulness, it is not so, but no action from the left side is seen in him at all!
Come and see, for this is what we learn from the book of Rav Hamnuna Sava, and so it is. It is written (BaMidbar 6:5): “Wildly growing the hair of his head.” He seeks to grow the hair of his head and his beard, and he will separate himself from wine and alcohol and grapes, because they are all the left side, and the hairs are not long. Wine is the supreme imma; alcohol is the side that the leviyyim are attached to, and they come from the supreme wine, and the hair is not long. And therefore, when the leviyyim went up to that place, they had to remove all of their hair, as you say (BaMidbar 8:7): “And they shall pass a razor over all their flesh.” Grapes are the lower imma, that gathers wine and alcohol to itself, and therefore he is separated from the entire left side, so as not to show their action towards him. These grapes do not have long hair and beard, because the female seeks to cut the hair when she comes to copulate with the male, and no beard is found in her. Therefore, the hair of the head and the beard is long. And the secret of the matter is that he is called a nazir of Elohim, and not a nazir of HaShem; he is entirely separated from strict judgment.
In other words, strict judgment doesn’t dominate the nazir, and damaging forces separate from him.
It is brought in the Midrash BaMidbar Rabbah 11:
“And He gives favor to the humble” (Mishlei 3:34) – these are the nezirim who hold onto humility in themselves, by separating from wine and growing their hair wildly, in order to afflict themselves and to guard themselves from sin. HaKadosh Baruch Hu gives them favor, as is written in birkat kohanim (BaMidbar 6:25): “And may He give you favor.”
“The wise inherit honor” (Mishlei 3:35).
And this is the reason for the grace of Yosef and his success in everything, as it is said (BeReshit 39:4): “And Yosef found favor in his eyes,” and why he was a successful man.
In other words, nezirut gives the one who performs it supernatural favor and success.
It is brought in the Zohar, Parashat Naso 3:127b:
Rabbi Shimon taught: If only people knew what they were saying with this hair and with its secret, as it is in the secret of secrets, they would recognize their Master in the supreme wisdom. Until now are the secrets of the Torah; from now on are the crowns of the Torah: “Its wares and its wages are holy to HaShem” (Yeshayahu 23:18).
In other words, only through nezirut is there a possibility to recognize the Creator, which is indeed only granted to holy people.
The Ramak writes in Or Yakar, Tikkunim, Bava Kamma 3:6:
Through the da’at, the branch of the keter, the mercy of the supreme keter spreads towards tiferet and ascends, which is the supreme Israel, and from there goes to the keter in ein sof. And this is what it means by “it stands in the supreme Israel,” which is the da’at in keter, “until your infinite ascent,” and its ascent is the ascent of all of Israel from their exile, and their elevation will certainly be infinite, because after Israel ascend in the light of the supreme keter in their redemption, as it says (Yeshayahu 54:7), “And with great mercy I will gather you,” their light will no longer be finite, and they will rise from one level to the next, from the time of mashiach to the time of the revival of the dead, and from the time of the revival to the time of the renewal of the world, and they will be elevated beyond any end or limit.
In other words, the nezirut is the door to eternal life with no body and without physical form, and even in the future, with the possibility of amazing elevation beyond any end!
And we have already learned from the words of the Sages in Talmud Bavli, Tractate Makkot 10b that a person is led in the way he wants to go:
Rav Huna said in the name of Rabbi Elazar: We learn from the Torah, from the Prophets and from the Writings that a person is led in the way he wants to go.
The same can be found elsewhere. And the Zohar, Parashat Chayyei Sarah, 1:125, says:
We are taught: Like the aspect that a person awakens, so too he draws upon himself from above. If he awakens on the side of holiness, he draws on himself holiness from above, and is sanctified. But if he awakens on the side of impurity, so too he draws on himself an impure spirit and is defiled, for such is said about what we are taught: If a person comes to defile himself, he is defiled.
And about a nazir it is stated in the Zohar, Parashat Naso 3:127b:
Rabbi Yehudah bar Rav said: In the actual hairs it is discerned that he is holy, as it is written (Shir HaShirim 5:11): “His locks are curls.”
And therefore, every Jew who aspires to holiness is given the opportunity to separate himself to HaShem and to sanctify himself, as it is said in BaMidbar 6:2,8:
And HaShem spoke to Mosheh saying, “Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: If a man or a woman expressly vows the vow of a nazir, to separate himself to HaShem … All the days of his separation, he is holy to HaShem.
In other words, nezirut is the behavior of the supreme holiness that depends on the will and choice of the Jew himself, and not on another factor.