L'ilui Nishmat Yosef Ben Rachel by Eddie and Sarah Esses and Family
Naso happens to be the longest Perashah, with 176 pesukim. Similarly, the Babli tractate Baba Batra has 176 pages, and the 119th Mizmor of Tehilim also has 176 Pesukim. The Gematria for 176 isleolam, which means ‘forever’. This is a sign that teaches us that the Torah is forever! Perek 5, Pasuk 10 reads: "Everyone's holy things shall belong to him; whatever a man gives to the Kohen shall be his.” This Pasuk is speaking about the gifts we must give to the Kohen. Then directly following, in Pasuk 12, the Torah continues: "Speak to B'nei Yisrael and say to them: Any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him." This Pasuk deals with the laws of Sotah, which involve a woman who is suspected of going into seclusion with another man. Rashi comments on the juxtaposition of these two topics by stating that if a man is so mean-spirited that he tries to avoid giving gifts to the Kohen, ultimately he will bring his wife to the Kohen on suspicion of being with another man, so that the Kohen can perform the Sotah service. This is similar to the man who doesn't give the proper Maaser tithe to Tzedakah. In the end that money will just be lost to something else, like theft or, 'Lo Alenu', medical expenses. As mentioned, Sotah is the service the Kohen performs when a married woman is suspected of going into seclusion with another man after she's been warned not to. She would then be brought to the Kohen where he would write the name of Hashem on a parchment which he then dips into water. She then drinks that water. If the woman is guilty of having relations with that man, she dies an excruciating death on the spot. However, if she's innocent she will be blessed with a son that same year! So we see from this, that Hashem is even willing to erase his Holy Name for the sake of Shalom Bayit. The question is raised: Why does she get a Berachah if she went into seclusion with another man after being warned not to, even if she is innocent of having relations? The answer is that even though she disobeyed her husband and went into seclusion with another man, she was able to conquer her Yetzer Hara and stop herself from having relations! In Pasuk 12 we read: "Ve’amarta alechem, ish ish ki tisteh ishto uma'alah bo ma'al". Why does the Torah repeat the word ish twice? We know that the Torah doesn't waste a single letter, let alone an extra word! Rabbi Frand explains that this is because there may be a reason that the woman is suspected of going into seclusion with another man. Maybe her husband harassed her to the point where he caused her great pain through verbal abuse, for example. There's no question that what she did was wrong, but what caused her to do what she did? The Torah continues directly following in 6:13 with the laws of a Nazir. This week’s Haftarah is also about Shimshon, who was a Nazir. The Pasuk discusses how the Nazir should bring his sacrifices after his period of abstinence from wine has been completed. The question is asked...Why does the Nazir bring a sin offering after a period of sanctity and devotion? According to Ramban, this is because it would have been better for him to continue with his abstinence from worldly pleasures and extend the vow of Nazir indefinitely. Therefore the sin-offering atones for his decision to return to worldly pleasures instead. There's a story in Nedarim (9b) in which Shimon Hatzadik says: "In all my days, I never ate of the Asham offering of a Nazir who became Tame' except for one certain man, a Nazir who had been Tame' who came from the south, who had beautiful eyes and his locks of hair were arranged in curls which made him extremely good-looking".Shimon Hatzadik asked him, "My son, why did you see fit to destroy this beautiful hair of yours?" He replied, "I was a shepherd for my father-in-law and when I went to fill my pail with water from the spring, I noticed my reflection in the water and began to stare at myself through the reflection. I realized then that the Yetzer Hara got hold of me and sought to banish me from this world by causing me to do something ‘out of character.’ I said back to that evil inclination, Wicked One! Why are you conceited in a world that's not yours with someone like me who is destined to be consumed by worms and maggots?" Because of this, I decided to become a Nazir. Shimon Hatzadik then kissed him on his head and said to him: My son, may there be more men taking the vow of Nezirut like you in Israel! It is about a Nazir like you that the Torah writes, “A man... who shall disassociate himself by vowing a Neder as a Nazir to abstain for the sake of Hashem". The Rabbis derive from this juxtaposition of the Sotah and the Nazir in this Perashah that "One who sees a Sotah in her state of degradation should prohibit wine to himself by taking a Nazirite vow", as is indicated in Sotah (2a). The reason for this is that the woman succumbed to her sensual passions and let her heart overpower her mind. Her experience was proof that we as people are easy prey to temptation, so when the Yetzer Hara gets hold of us, even adultery can be seen as an acceptable option. The Torah is saying to us clearly, that if we see something that's negative to us, we may be sure that it will affect us. We should take this as a sign to do something that will take us in the extreme opposite direction, so that we don't dare drift anywhere near that thing that we may have witnessed. Living in this galut we must be careful that we don't succumb to these low levels and do something that is totally out of character of an observant Jew. We must be careful in this way and do this for our sake, the sake of our family, our community and for the sake of the entire Jewish nation. As it's quoted by the famous investor Warren Buffet, "It takes 60 years to build a good reputation but only one minute to destroy it." We are all exposed to the Internet these days, and it has taken hold of so many, causing them at times to lose their families and sometimes even their lives. We must know as Orthodox Jews that the only thing that we must attach ourselves to is our Torah, as we celebrate the giving of the Torah from Hashem on Har Sinai on this special Holiday of Shavuot! There are events taking place today that can distract us from our only goal of learning Torah and we must learn to keep our distance. Rabbi Diamond always taught us that Hashem sends these events for a reason, so that they will have an effect on us and warn us to move far away from these foreign ideologies. We must take this as a lesson to move far from the events we've become exposed to in this Galut and continue to pray for the speedy arrival of the Mashiah! Amen! May we all know what's due to the Kohen or, in our days, the poor person, and may we not hold back from giving what is due to him because otherwise, one way or another, Hashem will take that money from us for something else that we don't want to spend our money on. May we also learn the proper Midot so that we do not instill fear into our own household and cause our wives our children or ourselves to do things that will ultimately hurt us personally and klal Yisrael. Amen!
Shabbat Shalom and Tizku Leshanim Rabot!
Jack E. Rahmey with the Guidance and Teachings of Rabbi Amram Sananes
Eliyahu Ben Rachel Avraham Ben Garaz Sarah Bat Chanah Malka Bat Garaz Shulamit Bat Helaina Yaakov Ben Rachel Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher Rav Haim Ben Rivka Meir Ben Latifa Yitzchak Ben Adele Esther Bat Sarah Chanah Bat Esther Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana Moshe Ben Garaz Rafael ben Miriam Moshe Ben Mazal