Pearls of Rashi: Parshas Naso I

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This week we read the Torah portion of Naso, the longest Parshah in the entire Torah. As such, it discusses several different subjects. Among that which is discussed is the law of a Sotah, an unfaithful wife. At the beginning of this subject, the Torah says[1], “Should any man’s wife go astray ….” The word which the Torah uses for “going astray” (תשטה) is related to the Hebrew word for folly or foolishness (שטות). Rashi is quick to point this out. He cites the words “Should any man’s wife go astray” and explains as follows. “Our Sages teach that adulterers do not sin unless a spirit of folly (שְׁטוּת) enters them …” In fact, the Sages teach this as a general rule which applies to all types of sins. The Talmud[2] tells us that “Resh Lakish said, ‘A person does not commit a transgression unless a spirit of folly (שטות) enters into him; as the Torah says, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray (תשטה).'”

Rashi and the Sages are telling us that one would never sin unless he is overcome by temporary insanity. The Torah contains 613 commandments. Why teach us this concept here? Many of these Mitzvos are so much more common than adultery! Why not use one of the other 612 commandments to teach us that sin is a form of insanity?

Our relationship with G-d is analogous to that of a wife to her husband. That is the basis of an entire book of the Bible, the Song of Songs. Hence when a Jew sins, he is comparable to an unfaithful wife. Hashem gives us life, sustains us, and takes care of us, and he cares for every detail of our existence. Listening to Him should be axiomatic! How is it possible for one to ignore what “her Husband” tells her? Moreover, how and why should I allow myself to “wander” and express interest in a different “Husband?”

There are two possible explanations. One is that I am unaware of the care that G-d shows me, and I was never taught about the relationship I have with my “spouse.” In that case, now is the time for my fellow Jews who are fortunate enough to have received a Jewish education to share their knowledge with me.

If I am fortunate enough to have a proper Jewish education and nevertheless choose to stray (G-d forbid), I must be temporarily insane. But that is no reason to despair, and it is only temporary. I always have the option to get my priorities straight and do Teshuvah.

May Hashem help us all to regain our sanity!

Have a wonderful Shabbos and a healthy summer!

Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn

Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 2, Page 311-314


DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
DR. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE

IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris


[1]. Our Parshah, Bamidbar 5:12.

[2]. Talmud Sotah 3, a.

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