5781

Importance of personal connection

The second half of the Parsha discusses the Korbanos that were brought by the Nesiim by the Chanukas Hamishkan. Although the Nesiim brought identical Korbanos, the Torah spells out the Korbanos that each Nasi brought. It would seem to make more sense for the Torah to write it once and then say that this is what each Nasi brought. What is the significance and message being taught that the Korbanos of each Nasi is written out even though it is seemingly repetitious as they are all identical?

The Ramban says two reasons regarding this point. The first reason is because the Torah wants to give every Nasi his כבוד. If the Torah would just write that all the Nesiim brought the following Korbanos without writing it out individually, it wouldn’t be a dignified way of presenting people.

The second reason, in the name of the Medrash, is that although their Korbanos were all the same, each of them brought לפי דעתו, meaning they each had a different טעם when bringing these Korbanos. They each had something unique and different in mind when they were bringing their קרבנות.

As we read the Psukim of the Nesiim in Parshas Naso immediately after Shavuos, it teaches us the idea that although the Torah was given to all of Klal Yisrael at Har Sinai as one and it would seem that the Mitzvos are one size that fits all, nevertheless every individual has to develop a personal connection. Every individual must find how each לא תעשה and עשה has a personal meaning to him. One might think with all of Klal Yisrael all having the same six hundred and thirteen mitzvos, there is no space for individuality. However that is not the case rather each person has his flavor in a Mitzvah and the way one Jew connects to a Mitzvah might not be the same way another connects to it. It’s interesting to note that the Aseres Hadibros appear in Parshas Yisro and on Shavuos we read Megilas Rus. This highlights the individual versus the Tzibur that we realize although we received the Torah as part of a Tzibur, nevertheless we should connect to it as individuals just like Rus and Yisro.

But even though each Nasi brought his own Korban for his own reason, when it came to the עגלות, six were brought because each two Nesiim brought an עגלה. So when it came to the עגלות, the Nesiim were happy to bring them together. It could be because although individuality is promoted, too much can have negative effects. When it comes to something like the עגלות, which are used as a vehicle for Avodah, in both senses of the word, they can and should be done together. As opposed to the Korbanos themselves which represent the internal Avodah, they should be done on an individual level.

Renewed Connection

Just like every person needs to make an individual and personal connection to Torah and Mitzvos, so also the individual himself needs to make a special, unique, renewed connection with Torah and Mitzvos every single day. Performing Mitzvos robotically each day and copying himself today as he was yesterday is the same thing as copying someone else. A person must constantly be experiencing renewal each day.

This idea of being fresh every day is what the Moadim are all about. The Gemara in חגיגה כו: says that on the שלוש רגלים, the Jews would witness the miracle that the לחם הפנים stayed fresh from week to week and it was כסידורו כך סילוקו. On Pesach and Sukkos, this would occur on שבת חול המועד. However, on Shavuos where there is no חול המועד, when would the Jews see this miracle? The(ב אלפים קעח) שו"ת רדב"ז answers that the Jews would stay until the Shabbos after Shavuos in order to witness this miracle. The idea of this נס is למעלה מן הזמן. The only way the bread was able to stay fresh week to week was because time had no place there. This is a perspective that a person should have, that every day he should live למעלה מן הזמן and be able to recognize the daily freshness and התחדשות. Each day he should recognize that he could start anew.

Additionally, The ר"ן in the beginning of תענית quotes the ירושלמי saying the reason why we start mentioning טל on the first day of Pesach and we stop mentioning טל on the last day of Sukkos is so that there should be a mention of טל on each of the Moadim. The idea is that טל represents freshness and התחדשות and the Moadim which are set by the Jews represents the idea that we are שולט on זמן. Therefore, with such a שליטה, we can recognize that we can be למעלה מן הזמן and therefore believe that every day we could start anew. Furthermore, we further see this idea in a Gemara ברכות מט. which explains מקדש ישראל והזמנים-ישראל דקדשינהו לזמנים. All the Moadim represent the idea that the Jews have the ability to be מקדש הזמנים which is because we are above time.

We say in the song כל מקדש שביעי the words המאחרים לצאת מן השבת וממהרים לבוא. The question is why is it in that order? The verse should first say we are ממהר לבוא , regarding bringing in Shabbos, and then say מאחר לצאת מן השבת, regarding concluding Shabbos, so why do we say it in this order?

The Rav wanted to suggest that תוספת שבת only began from after מתן תורה. The רמב"ן explains in his הקדמה to ספר שמות that יציאת מצרים was not complete until we got the Torah. Therefore, only once יציאת מצרים was completed was Shabbos able to take on the dimension of זכר ליציאת מצרים. שבת before מתן תורה did not have תוספת שבת because at that point it was only זכר למעשה בראשית and מעשה בראשית was strictly ששת ימים תעבד ועשית כל מלאכתך ויום השביעי שבת לה' וכו'. After מתן תורה, Shabbos became ראשון למקראי קודש and by a מועד, it’s possible תוספת שבת. Being that מתן תורה was on Shabbos, the first possible opportunity to utilize תוספת שבת was to extend Shabbos and therefore we start off with המאחרים לצאת מן השבת. Then, the next opportunity was the following Shabbos (which was this past Shabbos) and therefore the end of the verse says ממהרים לבא.

But the idea of being ממהר is not merely to be מקדים but rather it is the idea of זריזות. The מסילת ישרים at the end of the sixth chapter explains how the מדה of זריזות is angelic and not naturally found by human beings. The idea is because מלאכים are למעלה מן הזמן, therefore they are able to excel in this מדה as opposed to human beings. From all this we see the concept that the Moadim represent this idea of being שולט on זמן which is because we could live למעלה מן הזמן. This Shabbos which they would show the לחם הפנים on the שולחן and the Jews would see כסידורו כך סילוקו would show this concept as well that the freshness was only possible because it was למעלה מן הזמן and that we could live למעלה מן הזמן when we live every day as if it’s the first day of our lives.

The Rebbe Reb Heschel

On the Pasuk וירא את העגלות in Parshas Vayigash 45:27, the Medrash says ראה עגלות צב שיביאו הנשיאים למשכן כמה דאת אמר שש עגלות צב מיד ותחי רוח יעקב אביהם וראה שיוסף עדיין עומד בצדקו. What is the connection between the עגלות in Parshas Naso and the עגלות that Yosef send to Yaakov?

The Rebbe Reb Heshcel, in his Sefer Chanukas HaTorah on Parshas Vayigash, explains the following. The Gemara in Shabbos 49b says the ל"ט מלאכות correspond the thirty nine times the Torah says the word מלאכה and מלאכתו. However, the Gemara is מסופק about the thirty ninth one.

The Gemara questions the meaning of the word מלאכה in the Pasuk המלאכה היתה דים if it’s part of the count in which case it refers to the מלאכה of רידוד הטסים לא עב ולא דק or if it’s not part of the count and it refers to the work being completed and there was nothing more for the Nesiim to donate. The Gemara also questions the meaning of the word מלאכה in the Pasuk by Yosef and Eishes Potifar ויבא הביתה לעשות מלאכתו if it means מלאכה ממש or לעשות צרכיו. So if the meaning of מלאכה in the Pasuk המלאכה היתה דים refers to actual מלאכה, then it is the thirty ninths time it says מלאכה and the word מלאכה in ויבא הביתה לעשות מלאכתו is צרכיו ממש and he wasn’t intending on doing מלאכה. But if מלאכה in the Pasuk המלאכה היתה דים refers to the work being completed and there was nothing left to donate, then it’s not the thirty ninth time it says מלאכה rather ויבא הביתה לעשות מלאכתו is, and therefore מלאכה there means מלאכה ממש.

The Medrash says that the Nesiim said they’ll let Klal Yisrael donate for the Mishkan first and whatever is lacking, they’ll fill in. When they saw שהמלאכה היתה דים that nothing was left to donate, they decided to donate the עגלות. So according to this, the above beginning Medrash was saying that when Yaakov saw the Nesiim brought the עגלות, he understood that המלאכה היתה דים was referring to the fact that there was nothing left to donate in which case the word מלאכה in that Pasuk wasn’t referring to actual מלאכה and wasn’t part of the thirty nine. Therefore, he understood that the word מלאכה in the Pasuk ויבא הביתה לעשות מלאכתו is the thirty ninth and it was לעשות מלאכה ממש and not לעשות צרכיו and he knew that Yosef was still עומד בצדקו.

Brachah When Innocent

ואם לא נטמאה האשה וטהרה הוא ונקתה ונזרעה זרע (ה,כח)

If the Sotah drinks the water and is found to be innocent, she gets a Brachah of ונקתה ונזרעה זרע. Rashi says ונזרעה זרע, אם היתה יולדת בצער תלד בריוח, אם היתה יולדת שחורים יולדת לבנים. But why is such a women deserving of a Brachah? It’s true she was found not guilty but at the end of the day, she was מיחד with a man, and there was קינוי and סתירה so why should she be deserving of a Brachah just because she was found to be innocent?

One explanation could be because she held back from doing the Averiah at the last minute. So although she stooped so low and was נסתר with פלוני, nevertheless Hashem doesn’t belittle that which she actually refrained from sinning. Therefore, for that, she is deserving of all that שכר.

The Gemara in Shabbos 118b says ואמר רבי יוסי: יהא חלקי ממי שחושדין אותו ואין בו. The Maharal in Chidushei Aggados there writes the following:

פי' כי מי שמביישין אותו ויש בו הוא כפרה על חטאו כאשר יקבל בזיון, ואיך יהיה שכרו מי שחושדין אותו ואין בו, וראיה לזה הסוטה שאמרה תורה (במדבר ה') ואם לא שטית וגו' ונקתה ונזרעה זרע וגו' וכל זה מפני הבזיון שקבלה שלא כדין, וכך מי שנחשד שלא כדין וקבל בזיון הש"י נותן לו כבוד בעולם הבא. כי כן מדת הש"י להגביה שפלים וזה שהושפל שלא כדין הש"י נותן לו כבוד תחת הבזיון.

The Maharal explains that when a person is embarrassed because of an Aveirah, it’s a כפרה for that sin. But if a person experiences בזיון because of a suspected sin but he didn’t really commit it, then he gets שכר for it. And he brings a proof from the Sotah that she gets the Brachah of ונקתה ונזרעה זרע because of the incorrect בזיון that she received. The Gemara in Shabbos 118b continues אמר רב פפא: לדידי חשדן ולא הוה בי but doesn’t say what רב פפא was חשוד on.

The Gemara in Shabbos 140b says the following: ואמר רב פפא: האי מאן דאפשר למישתי שיכרא ושתי חמרא - עובר משום בל תשחית. ולאו מילתא היא, בל תשחית דגופא עדיף.

Rav Papa said if a person can be satisfied with beer and instead drinks wine, its בעל תשחית on the wine, meaning on his money. However, the Gemara disagrees and says בל תשחית דגופא עדיף, meaning its better for him to drink the wine which is better for his health rather than drink the beer which is cheaper because בל תשחית דגופא takes precedence over בעל תשחית on his money. But the Maharsha writes ורב פפא לטובת עצמו אמרה שהוא היה עושה שכר כדאמרי' פ' ע"פ דאמר רב פפא אי לאו דעבדי שיכרא לא איעתרו that he ruled this way because it was beneficial for him for people to drink beer because he was in the beer business and he got rich from it.

However, the Rashash writes the following:

עח"א שפי' דר"פ לטובת עצמו אמר כן שהיה עושה שכר ואני אומר על פירושו ולאו מילתא היא דמאי יענה על ר"ח (מאי נוגע בדבר היה) דהאי ולאו מילתא היא שב ג"כ על דבריו ואולי דלזה כוון ר"פ לעיל (קיח ב') באמרו לדידי חשדן ולא הוה בי כי יש שהיה חושדין אותו כפי' מהרש"א.

The Rashash is explaining that perhaps what Rav Papa was referring to when he said לדידי חשדן ולא הוה בי is the explanation of the Maharsha on 140b that he ruled to drink beer over wine לטובת עצמו.

5780

Connection of Different Kehuna Roles and Sotah and Nazir

Our Parshah begins with the different roles of Kehas, Gershon, and Merari. It then goes into the Parsha of Sotah and Nazir and concludes with the קרבנות brought by the נשיאים during the חנוכת המשכן. The question is what do all these things have to do with each other?

Rashi brings the Gemara in סוטה ב. That says למה נסמכה פרשת נזיר לפרשת סוטה לומר לך שכל הרואה סוטה בקלקולה יזיר עצמו מן היין. The question is that איפבא מסתברא, that a person who witnessed crime and punishment, and saw how low and disgusting a person could become should not need to prohibit himself from wine and someone who did not witness a Sotah should need to make boundaries?

The Baal Shem Tov says that when you witness something negative in ruchniyus and you see it, it’s a reflection of something within you and therefore one must take action to correct it. One time, the Baal Shem Tov saw Chilul Shabbos and he understood that there must be something wrong within him in the area of Chilul Shabbos. He realized that he one time was משתמש with a Talmid Chacham and he connected it to Chilul Shabbos. Because in the Zohar it says that a Talmid Chacham is the Bechina of Shabbos that just like there is a Shabbos in space, the Mikdash, Shabbos in time, the seventh day of the week, there is also a Shabbos in nefashos which is the Talmid Chacham. To correct this, he traveled far away to the Pnei Yehoshua and he waited for an opportunity to serve him. When the Pnei Yehoshua was about to light his pipe, the Baal Shem Tov went ahead and lit it for him.

According to this we can understand that a הרואה סוטה בקלקולה needs to understand that there must be something wrong with him if he has seen this and therefore it should bring him to take something upon himself and therefore he is יזיר עצמו מן היין.

Another explanation as to why specifically the one who saw the Sotah requires special restriction is the following said by Reb Yerucham in Parshas Nitzavim. When it comes to exposure, a person has to create גדרים. Once a person is exposed, he becomes desensitized and callous and therefore even though he sees clearly that ramifications of such actions, he specifically must create boundaries for himself more than a person that was not exposed. Like it says in Parshas Nitzavim, that Hashem warns us against following after עבודה זרה which are described as שקוציהם and גלליהם. One would think that to stay away from such disgusting things does not require boundary and warning, but it is on the contrary that since there is exposure, we becomes desensitized and theretofore it is that person specifically that witnessed the lowliness who needs to set up the boundaries.

Another answer is from Reb Menachen M’Vitebsk in his sefer Pri HaAretz. He explains based on the idea חכמה מרובה ממעשיו that having more חכמה can sometimes be more detrimental. In order to harness the intellect and prevent it from leading to עבירה, a person must act and make boundaries. Chazal in Avos say a Mashel for this to a tree that has more branches than roots, all it takes is a simple wind to uproot the tree. The Branches are the Chachma and unless it has more roots, the מעשה, to ground it, then a simple wind will topple the tree. Having tremendous intellect and knowledge will do nothing, and on the contrary be dangerous, if we do not put it into action.

In the sefer אמונה ובטחון פרק יט which is מיוחס להרמב"ן on the Pasuk in Shir HaShirimאם תעירו ואם תעוררו את האהבה עד שתחפץ (ב,ז) explains that תעירו means to break, to say that the התעוררות a person can have, עד שתחפץ, until its put into a חפץ, it’s breakable. Only once the התעוררות is actualized and put into a חפץ, then it becomes unbreakable and is long lasting. Similarly, the Noam Elimelech in Parshas Ki Seitzei on the Pasuk כי תבא בכרם רעך ואכלת ענבים כנפשך שבעך ואל כליך לא תתן (כג,כה) explains that כרם רעך is the כרם of the רבונו של עולם as the Pasuk in Mishlei says ריעך וריע אביך אל תעזוב (פרק כז) referring to הקב"ה. So a person can take as much as he wants and he can climb as high as he wants in terms of his hasagos but one condition is ואל כליך לא תתן that you can’t put your hasagos away because a person is only allowed to have such hasagos in Torah if he is ready now to take them on, but not if he is going to put them away for another day.

The last answer is as follows. This lady did a מעשה בהמה and that’s why her korban is with שעורים which is מאכל בהמה. We see from the Sotah that a person could fall below sub-human. Therefore, if a person could become sub-human, than a person can also become super human. From seeing a Sotah, a person can recognize that there are no parameters to בחירה and if a person could sink to the level of a בהמה, than they could rise to super human levels of a Nazir who is נזר אלקיו על ראשו. He becomes on the level of a Kohen that he is אסור to be מטמא to the שבעה קרובים. Not only does he become on the level of a Kohen, but there is an indication from a Gemara in Nazir that he is on a higher level than the Kohen Gadol. There is an opinion in the Gemara that says if a Nazir and Kohen Gadol are deciding who should be מטמא למת מצוה, the Kohen Gadol should be מטמא. We see the super human levels a person can reach by becoming a Nazir.

This last answer gives an explanation to the idea that the Parshah seems to have many levels of hierarchy like the נשיאים, לויים etc. and one might think that stages of greatness are predetermined and set and he can’t do anything to affect them. But the Sotah and the Nazir prove this notion wrong and come to express the message that there are no parameters to בחירה and in as much as a person could fall below sub-human, he could rise above to the super human because it’s זה לעומת זה.

בתר רוב

The הגהות רד"ל in the back of the Gemara in Chulin 11a asks the following question. The Gemara in Chulin is discussing from where we know the Halacha that we go בתר רוב. The Gemara attempts to bring a proof from the fact that מכה אביו ואמו מות יומת because maybe the people he is cursing aren’t his parents, to which the Gemara answers because רוב בעילות אחר הבעל, we can assume that they are his parents. The הגהות רד"ל asks that maybe the mother was a Sotah and before she drinks the water, she says אמן ואמן to the שבועה, one אמן that nothing happened with the accused man and אמן that nothing happened with any other man. If this would be the case, then we would know that this child is for sure from these parents and deserving of the death penalty if he curses them. Therefore there is no proof that we go בתר רוב in order to kill such a child.

A suggestion brought that really it could still be a proof because we still need to rely on this רוב in order for the Kohen who is giving her the drink to really be a Kohen otherwise, the water won’t have an effect. So the only way we know he really is a Kohen is because of רוב בעילות אחר הבעל.

But it could be it’s not a proof because maybe that Kohen who is providing the drink is a Kohen not because of the רוב but because his mother was a Sotah who drank and was proven innocent so maybe that’s how we know he is a Kohen. But eventually it will go back to the first Kohen which we will only know is a legitimate Kohen because of רוב so this explanation could be a correct proof.

Brachah on the מי סוטה

Does the woman make a Brachah on the מי סוטה? The Pasuk refers to it as מי המרים. Rashi explains the reason it’s called bitter is because the water is going to make her life bitter but not because it actually tastes bitter. However, there is a drashah that something bitter was put into the water. The Gemara in the beginning of Keitzad Mvarchim says you don’t make a Brachah on something that is אזוקי מזיק. Therefore only if she knows she sinned and is going to die should she not make a Brachah because it will be מזיק her. But if she knows she is innocent, then she should make a Brachah because she knows nothing is going to happen to her. But that only works according to Rashi that it wasn’t really bitter, rather it just would make her life bitter. However, according to the drashah that something bitter was actually put inside the water, then she still wouldn’t make a Brachah because it’s not ראוי לשתיה.

Both בין אדם למקום and בין אדם לחבירו

In the Parshah that discusses גזל, the Pasuk says למעל מעל בה'. But by Sotah, the Pasuk says ומעלה בו מעל. The Torah is emphasizing what one might not think because a person might assume that זנות the dominant factor is really בין אדם למקום so the Pasuk emphasizes ומעלה בו to show that it’s even בין אדם לחבירו. But by theft, it’s the opposite that a person might think its all בין אדם לחבירו therefore the Pasuk specifically says למעל מעל בה' to show that it’s even בין אדם למקום.

Necessary Process of Sotah

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim writes the whole process by a Sotah was necessary because the nature of a man is that he would never be able to calm down and let it go unless he knows for sure with absolute certainty that nothing happened with his wife.

The Rav added that nonetheless there are so many loopholes and exceptions that could cause the water not to check. Therefore one can learn two lessons out from this. One being that even if you can’t put all fears to rest, you should still try to deal with what you could deal with. Secondly, that if you really want to be suspicious, then nothing is ever going to help.

Importance of Routine

The Parshah describes all the details of which children of Levi carried what regarding the Mishkan and its keilim and all there various position and roles while they were in the Midbar, and how things were set up when they camped and traveled and everything was determined and perfectly calculated. But if one thinks about it, at this point, it was only a few days (11 days says Rashi in Bhaloscha) until they entered Eretz Yisrael and then there wouldn’t be a need for all the carrying and specific jobs of the sons of Levi. It was only because of the subsequent events that were to happen that caused the Jews to remain in the Midbar for another 40 years.

A lesson that could be learned is no matter what situation a person may be in, whether it be temporary or long term, he must set himself up with a set program, a routine, even if the plan is for it to change, in order to attain a level of ישוב הדעת-peace of mind. As we see in this Parshah that sometimes what we consider short-term actually becomes the long term and so it is in life and every moment counts, even if it’s short-term. It happens to be such a mindset can be beneficial because then if things don’t end up being temporary (like we initially thought) and turn permanent, you will be much better off on the inside because you reached a point of peace of mind and now you can deal accordingly with the new reality.

5779

Tikkun for חטא of אדם הראשון

The Kiddush this Shabbos was sponsored by Kobe Schwarzbaum. Schwarzbaum means black tree in Yiddish so from that, the Rav went on to talking about trees.

There is a מנהג in כלל ישראל to put non-bearing fruit trees in shuls on שבועות because on עצרת the judgement for the upcoming year’s fruit tree is decided (מג"א או"ח ס' תצד ס"ק ה). There are two questions that can be asked. Firstly, if we are judged in regard to fruit bearing trees, why do we put non fruit bearing trees in shul? Secondly, why is it that on ט"ו בשבתwhich is ראש השנה לאלנות do we celebrate by eating fruit and not with trees, an on שבועות which we are judged for the upcoming year’s fruit do we celebrate by putting trees in shuls, it should be the opposite?

When אדם הראשון sinned and was punished, the ground was also punished because it did not produce trees that tasted like its fruit. The fact that some trees don’t produce fruits can be understood as an extension of this punishment. In fact, in the beginning of פרשת בחקותי, on the Pasuk “ועץ השדה יתן פריו”, Rashi says it is referring to non-bearing fruit trees which will produce fruits in the future.

קבלת התורה was a תיקון for the חטא of אדם הראשון because the idea behind the sin was not wanting to take responsibility for ones actions, as we see from his response to Hashem האשה אשר נתתה עמדי הוא נתנה לי מן העץ ואכל. However, when the Jews were מקבל the torah at הר סיני, it was an acceptance of responsibility that we understand that our actions have consequences and ramifications and we are willing to take אחריות for our actions. This idea is also reflected in the Zohar. The Zohar says that the זוהמא that came into the world by the חטא of אדם הראשון was פסק at הר סיני (temporarily) and it was a moment ofאדם הראשון קודם החטא . Therefore we specifically put אילני סרק in shul on שבועותbecause קבלת התורה was a תיקון for the חטא of אדם הראשון which also included the חטאof the אדמה that it produced trees that didn’t have טעם פרי and trees that did not produce fruits. This also answers the second question because with the תיקון of for the חטא of the אדמה, trees will revert back to tasting like their פרי. Therefore we put trees in shuls even though עצרת has to do with fruits because with the תיקון, trees will be like the fruit itself.

Finding Individuality

But even withקבלת התורה , it is difficult for an individual to find his place in the big picture. Being that each and every one of the 613 mitzvos are commanded to every Jew in the same way, an individual may find it difficult to connect in his own unique way.

The Gemara in מנחות דף סה: learns from the Pasuk “וספרתם לכם”-שתהא ספירה לכל אחד ואחד. This counting is in contrast to the counting by יובל which is only done by the סנהדרין. The counting by Sefira is to be done so much by the individual that one can’t fulfil his חיוב with שומע כעונה.

Numbers and calendars are the most universal and objective thing that we have. No matter who the person is, black or white, one plus one is two and every number means that exact same thing for everyone in the world. Therefore, the message of ספירת העומר leading up to קבלת התורה is that every person must find his individuality in something that seems the same to everyone.

This idea can further be seen in how the Ramban explains why the Torah repeats the same identical קרבנות that each נשיא brought during the חנוכת המשכן. He explains that although each one did the same thing, each had something unique and different in mind when they were bringing there קרבנות. The same goes for us when it comes to the mitzvos that although we all have the same mitzvos, there is room to find individuality in each one.

Connection of Different Kehuna Roles and Sotah and Nazir

Our Parsha begins with the different roles of Kehas, Gershon, and Merari. It then goes into the Parsha of Sotah and Nazir and concludes with the קרבנות brought by the נשיאים during the חנוכת המשכן. The question is what do all these things have to do with each other?

The Gemara in סוטה ב. says למה נסמכה פרשת נזיר לפרשת סוטה לומר לך שכל הרואה סוטה בקלקולה יזיר עצמו מן היין. The question is that איפבא מסתברא, that a person who witnessed crime and punishment, and saw how low and disgusting a person could become should not need to prohibit himself from wine and someone who did not witness a Sotah should need to make boundaries?

Reb Yerucham answers with the following idea. When it comes to exposure, a person has to create גדרים. Once a person is exposed, he becomes desensitized and callous and therefore even though he sees clearly that ramifications of such actions, he specifically must create boundaries for himself more than a person that was not exposed. Like it says in Parshas Nitzavim, that Hashem warns us against following after עבודה זרה which are described as שקוציהם and גלליהם. One would think that to stay away from such disgusting things does not require boundary and warning, but it is on the contrary that since there is exposure, we becomes desensitized and theretofore it is that person specifically that witnessed the lowliness who needs to set up the boundaries.

Another answer is from Reb Menachen M’Vitebsk in his sefer Pri HaAretz. He explains based on the idea חכמה מרובה ממעשיו that having more חכמה can sometimes be more detrimental. In order to harness the intellect and prevent it from leading to עבירה, a person must act and make boundaries. We see this today where we have thousands of shiurim online and tremendous access to knowledge yet we are not growing tremendously. As opposed to in the shtetle when a person would hear one vort every six months, he would live with that vort. Having tremendous intellect and knowledge will do nothing, and on the contrary be dangerous, if we do not put it into action.

The last answer is as follows. This lady did a מעשה בהמה and that’s why her korban is with שעורים which is מאכל בהמה. We see from the Sotah that a person could fall below sub-human. Therefore, if a person could become sub-human, than a person can also become super human. From seeing a Sotah, a person can recognize that there are no parameters to בחירה and if a person could sink to the level of a בהמה, than they could rise to super human levels of a Nazir who is נזר אלקיו על ראשו. He becomes on the level of a Kohen that he is אסור to be מטמא to the שבעה קרובים. Not only does he become on the level of a Kohen, but there is an indication from a Gemara in Nazir that he is on a higher level than the Kohen Gadol. There is an opinion in the Gemara that says if a Nazir and Kohen Gadol are deciding who should be מטמא למת מצוה, the Kohen Gadol should be מטמא. We see the super human levels a person can reach by becoming a Nazir.

With this last answer, we can understand that the Parsha seems to have many levels of hierarchy like the נשיאים, לויים etc. and the Sotah is there to express the message that there are no parameters to בחירה and in as much as a person could fall below sub-human, he could rise above to the super human.

גם הם

There is a moving Chasam Sofer regarding the words גם הם and the order of לבית אבתם למשפחותם that is said by Gershon. (The Rav went on to read the piece. I was told to translate the last couple of lines starting from where the Chasam Sofer talks about Merari.) Merari refers to the דורו של שמד whose lives are bitter with יסורין קשים ובניו מחלי כל חולי, and what should we say to them? Should we say to them נשא את ראשם לבית אבותם? Behold their fathers are considered טפלים in comparison, as they are greater than them!

בכתף ישאו

The Pasuk by Kehas says בכתף ישאו. Regarding the source for ,עיקר שירה the Gemara in ערכין יא. Says as follows:

ותנא מייתי לה מהכא ולבני קהת לא נתן כי עבודת הקדש עליהם בכתף ישאו ממשמע שנאמר בכתף איני יודע שישאו מה ת"ל ישאו אין ישאו אלא לשון שירה וכן הוא אומר שאו זמרה ותנו תוף.

Here you find a source to the phrase “carry a tune” because the Pasuk uses the lashon of שאו when talking about singing. It seems odd that the Gemara chose a Pasuk for the source of שירה that really has to do with carrying a burden, just it could also refer to שירה because we find שירה associated with the לשון of שאו. However the explanation could be that the Torah is displaying the idea that even while a person is burdening a load, be it physically or emotionally, he should still be able to sing. The Gemara in Sanhedrin 92b says:

אמר רבי יצחק יוצק זהב רותח לתוך פיו של אותו רשע שאילמלא (לא) בא מלאך וסטרו על פיו ביקש לגנות כל שירות ותשבחות שאמר דוד בספר תהלים.

The Kutzker asked that at the end of the day נבוכדנצר was able to deride all the שירות ותשבחות of דוד המלך so why was it that he was hit on his mouth? The answer is that the Malach was saying let’s see if he could still do it while getting a smack on his mouth. Dovid Hamelech endured tremendous צרות throughout his life and was nonetheless able to sing שירות ותשבחות. That is the message of בכתף ישאו.

כף אחת עשרה זהב

If you don’t understand Yiddish it might not sound as good but the Pasuk say כף אחת עשרה זהב. A yid is עשרה because he is a yud. So with כף אחת, one כפיפה, one bending, a yid could become עשרה זהב.

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