Joseph the original “Nazarite”
Before Jacob died, he blessed his sons including Joseph: “The blessings of your father Have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate [separate in Hebrew: nazar] from his brothers.” (Gen. 49:26)
“The majority opinion of the rabbis is that Joseph always kept in mind his father and brothers. Some declare that during the 22 years he was away from home he drank no wine (Shab. 139a; Gen. R. 94:25).” (New World Encyclopedia)
Certainly Joseph could not expect to behave wisely if he were to drink and forget the law. (Prov. 31:5) This is true regardless of Joseph technically taking a Nazarite vow or not.
Interestingly this term nazar describing Joseph in Gen. 49:26 is the term used of the Nazarite vow in Numbers 6:1-21. Besides alcoholic wine, Jewish usage of Hebrew clearly shows simple grape juice was also within the meaning of “yayin” wine: “Wine … when the grapes have been crushed and the wine begins to flow, even though it has not descended into the cistern and is still in the wine press.” (Sefer Kedushah, MaAchalot Assurot, Ch. 11, Halacha 11) Continue reading “Joseph the original “Nazarite””