Perashat Nasso

Leilui Nishmat Yosef Ben Rachel Joseph M. Balassiano by his son David and Family

Perashat Nasso

Nasso happens to be the longest Parasha, with 176 pesukim. Similarly, the Bavli tractate Baba Batra has 176 pages, and the 119th Mizmor of Tehilim also has 176 Pesukim. The Gamatria for 176 is leolam, 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.

In Pasuk 12 we read: "Ve’amarta alechem, ish ish ki tisteh ishto umalah bo maal". 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. There's no question that what she did was wrong, but what caused her to do what she did?

Rashi then comments on “Ki Tisteh Eishto”...if his wife will go astray. The word Tisteh is related to the word “shtut” or stupidity. “Adulterers do not commit adultery until a spirit of foolishness enters them...” Just look at what is going on in today’s society, where so-called intelligent people, politicians, famous newscasters and top show-business personalities are literally throwing their careers away for a fling that leads them to do some very stupid things. It’s not only limited to famous people, we see it with all types of people from every different background. They become temporarily stupid and are irrationally willing to destroy their entire life for a fleeting pleasure...is it really worth it?

There’s a man I know who had a family, a good business, beautiful children who made a stupid move which ultimately cost him his marriage, his children, his house and his business...was it all worth it? That’s why Rashi says infidelity stems from pure stupidity.

On the other hand, there’s a famous story of a man in our community who, when he was a young man in the army, was put in a very tempting and precarious situation with a beautiful woman and he responded by immediately running for his life like Yosef Hatzadik. This man ultimately became a pillar of our community and has left a legacy through his children and grandchildren who are all going in the way of the Torah, and many have become prominent Rabbi’s in our community or are married to Rabbi’s!

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 and does not die, then 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 Beracha 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 Harah and stop herself from having relations!

The Torah continues directly following in 6:13 with the laws of a Nazir. This week’s Haftorah 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.

The Rabbi’s also derive from this juxtaposition of the Sotah and the Nazir in this Parasha that "One who sees a Sotah in her state of degradation should prohibit wine to himself by taking a Nazerite 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 Harah 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 direction of the extreme opposite, so that we don't dare drift anywhere near that thing that we may have witnessed. As quoted by Warren Buffett, "It takes 60 years to build a good reputation and just 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 just celebrated the giving of the Torah from Hashem on Har Sinai on the special Holiday of Shavuout!

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 they will have an effect on us. In this case, we must take a lesson to run far away from the events we've become exposed to in this Galut that we're living through, and continue to pray for the speedy arrival of the Mashiach! 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’d rather not spend it on. May we also learn the proper Midot so that we do not instil fear into our own household and cause our wives or our children to stray and do things that will ultimately go against us. May we also put our emphasis on learning Torah so that we have the strength to run away from a bad situation and not fall into any negative traps, has ve Shalom!

Shabbat Shalom!

Jack E. Rahmey with the Guidance and Teachings of

Rabbi Amram Sananes

Leiluiy Nishmat....

Eliyahu Ben Rachel Rabbi Shimon Chay Ben Yaasher

Sarah Bat Chanah Esther Bat Sarah

Shulamit Bat Helaina Rabbi Meyer Ben Chana

Batsheva Bat Sarah Esther Rafael Ben Miriam

Rav Haim Ben Rivka Moshe Ben Mazal

Yitzchak Ben Adele Avraham Ben Mazal

Chanah Bat Esthe Ovadia Ben Esther

Moshe Ben Garaz Rahamim Ben Mazal

Avraham Ben Garaz Avraham Ben Mazal

Yaakov Ben Rachel Avraham Ben Kami

Meir Ben Latifa Moshe Ben Yael

Malka Bat Garaz Mordechai Ben Rachel

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