The Duties of Gershon
Nasso continues enumerating the duties of the Sons of Levi: Gershon’s duties are to pack and carry all the coverings and curtains of the Tabernacle and the curtains of the Outer Fence. Merari is to pack and carry all of the structural elements of the Tabernacle and the Outer Fence. In the previous Portion (B’Midbar) the 12 Tribes are numbered and the Levites are numbered. In Nasso, the Sons of Aaron are numbered (8,580 of them) so that all the Tabernacle duties can be properly distributed among them.
God gives Moses instructions to test a woman suspected of adultery: She brings a Meal Offering of Jealousy to the Priest. The Priest mixes dust from the ground with holy water and presents the Jealousy Offering to God. The woman drinks the water/dust mixture. If she is guilty of adultery, her belly will swell (pregnant) and her thighs will swell (miscarriage). This appears to be yet another strange ancient custom that defies 21st century logic; yet back in Exodus 32, we saw this ritual applied to the Children of Israel after The Golden Calf episode. Moses grinds the Golden Calf to dust and then has Israel drink it because they have committed adultery with their Husband, God!
The Nazarite Vow
Only the Sons of Levi are allowed to service the Tabernacle, and only the Sons of Aaron are allowed to perform the Priestly duties within the Tabernacle. The Nazarite Vow, however, gives the rest of the Israelites individual opportunity to dedicate their services to God in areas other than the Levitical duties in the Tabernacle. The vow is voluntary, open to both men and women, and can be terminated at any time. The requirements are: drink no wine or strong drink; eat nothing from the grape vine; do not cut your hair; do not touch any dead thing. Samson is the best known example of this vow, however, Samuel and John the Immerser (Baptist) are also Nazarites. There is evidence that Paul of Tarsus took this vow, and perhaps Yeshua did also at His Last Seder meal when He said,” I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” (Matt 26:29).
The Aaronic Blessing
We are all familiar with this blessing in English, but none of the English translations come close to capturing its true essence. The English translations are not “wrong,” it’s just that our English words, no matter how many we use, cannot fully convey the richness from the Hebrew. God has always dealt with Israel as a group, but this blessing is addressed to “you” (singular) as an individual. And His Promise is to not just “give” you His Shalom, but to be so close to you that He places it upon you. This is such an intimate, one-on-one time with God!