The Nazir is a Jew, who due to his current situation in life, understood that the right thing to do was to take steps to become closer to Hashem through the “Nazir” process (i.e. to refrain from wine, not cut his hair, etc.). One would think that the actions that this man took were only good and noble. Yet the Torah tells us that upon the conclusion of his period as a “Nazir”, he is obligated to bring a korbon chatas. Many explanations are given as to what is the sin of the Nazir, which obligates him to bring such a sin offering.
The Ramban tells us something that we must always keep in mind: When this man descends back to the regular rhythms of life after having climbed to lofty heights as a Nazir, in a sense he is sinning. Ideally, he should continue his lofty status of Nezirus for his entire life.
It seems to me that the Ramban is not suggesting that any time a person has achieved a higher level, it is mandatory for him to remain at this level, and if he doesn’t and drops down it is considered a sin. Rather, when the person is forced – for whatever reason it may be – to resume “business as usual”, if he doesn’t acknowledge that in a sense he is taking a step down, he may lose the lofty heights which he did acquire. Maybe this is the point of the korban: for the person to realize that he is “stepping down.”
Shavuos night is behind us and we may remember it fondly. If we say to ourselves “It is good to do that, but just once a year” without questioning maybe we should do this more often, we may be like the Nazir who did not acknowledge his lofty state. We need to admire our ability to persevere and learn though being tired, and yearn to find opportunities to do this more often.
People often approach me and describe how they desire to act in a slightly better way in one particular area of life. For example, someone may have financial difficulties, and I might suggest to him that during “bareich aleinu” in Shemoneh esrei he should stop and think for an extra second about what it means for him personally. I might tell him to do this for only one month—if told to do it longer, he most likely won’t even do it for one month. Yet, by setting a reasonable objective of just one month and then accomplishing that objective, it will become deeply engrained in the fiber of who he is, to the point that he will hopefully want to do it again sometime soon. If he does this, his ‘yerida’ (sin of not staying on a higher level) will be cause for an ‘aliya’.
Sometimes in the process of growing, we are forced to sell short in order to make a long-term gain. The lesson of the nazir should be that though there is an aspect of sin when he is released from his nazir vow, it gives him time to regroup, and to raise himself once again in the future to become an even better Jew.