Daily dose of wisdom, Nazir 4: self awareness and problem solving

The Talmud notes that a Nazir who becomes ritually contaminated and needs to start his Nazirut again may only reluctantly be continuing. The Gemara brings this amazing story about one such Nazir who had no reluctance:

Shimon HaTzaddik said: In all my days as a priest, I never ate the guilt-offering of a ritually impure Nazir, apart from that of one man who came from the South, who had beautiful eyes and a fine countenance, and his locks were arranged in curls. I said to him: My son, what did you see which would cause you to destroy this beautiful hair?

He said to me: I was a shepherd for my father in my town, and went to draw water from the spring, and I examined my reflection. My evil inclination quickly rose against me and sought to drive me from the world (he realized with his looks he could seduce many women).

I said to my evil inclination: Empty one! Why are you proud in a world that is not yours, as your end is to be maggots and worms. I swear by the Temple service that I will become a Nazir and shave you for the sake of Heaven.

I arose and kissed him on his head, and said to him: May there be more Nazirites like you in Israel (with noble intentions and without regretting their vow of even if they became impure).

This young man was not really aware of his physical endowments until he examined his reflection in a well. He realized that his flowing locks of hair was a big part of his attractive look. To resist using his appearance for evil, he committed to remove them. Since becoming a Nazir requires growing then cutting off hair, that vow was a good method to force him to cut off his hair.

Nowadays mirrors are common and even men use them to maintain appearances. However, many men are still unaware that they may have positive aspects, be they physical, intellectual, or spiritual. Sometimes a man doesn’t know what he is capable of until he is in a situation where he needs to rely on his strengths to succeed. It is important to work on knowing yourself and determining your personal assets and liabilities.

In addition, when you find something in yourself or your environment that is a source of temptation, it is important to work on removing it right away. This may require throwing alluring junk food in the trash, or setting up filters on your internet connection. It is vital to do something right away when you realize the problem, instead of simply ignoring the issue.

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