Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: “When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, he shall separate himself to the Lord.” (Numbers 6:2)
In previous chapters, emphasis was sometimes placed on situations where someone would be considered unclean in regard to the Sanctuary and, consequently, why that person was prevented from having contact with anything deemed holy. Here we have a command that addresses the opposite situation; rather than someone who has become unclean, the law of the Nazirite deals with a person who wished to devote themselves to a higher standard of purity than was expected of the average citizen.
The Nazirite took a vow that required him to adhere to a very strict lifestyle during the course of his vow. He had to abstain from ingesting anything associated with the grape, especially wine. He had to avoid contact with a dead body and he could not cut his hair; in fact, his hair was considered to be holy. By committing himself to these standards of holiness, the Nazirite was denying himself of what many others were permitted to do. In fact, these self-imposed stipulations are comparable to requirements placed upon the priests of Israel, suggesting that the Nazirite desired to be set apart unto God in similar fashion as that of the priests.
The point is this: like the priests who were called to a higher standard of holiness than most, the one who took the vow of the Nazirite was declaring his intention to draw closer to God by saying “No” to himself. In a manner of speaking, he was indicating a desire to go beyond the courtyard and enter into the Holy Place because he wanted to be closer to his God. Likewise, every believer who wishes to experience a greater intimacy with the Creator understands that, to be in His Presence, requires us to live holy lives. The less contact we have with the contaminating aspects of this world, the more of God’s Presence we will enjoy. It boils down to this: how much are we ready to give up in order to draw closer to Him?
Blessings and Shalom,