I hope that you’ll enjoy the following Parashat summary followed by a Dvar Torah;
” Parsha in a Nutshell”
After Hashem commands Moshe to purify the camp, the Torah describes the process to be carried out with a Sotah, a wife who was warned by her husband not to seclude herself with another man and was subsequently found doing so. She is taken to the Kohen in the Temple and, if she doesn’t admit her guilt, given sacred bitter waters to drink which will lead to one of two results: The waters will either establish her innocence, removing any doubt from her husband’s mind by blessing her with a child, or the waters will prove her guilt through a miraculous, horror death.
The Torah then describes the laws of the Nazir, a person who has voluntarily accepted upon himself to adopt a special state of holiness, usually for thirty days, by abstaining from eating or drinking any grape products, from cutting his hair, and from becoming contaminated through contact with a dead body.
After relating the blessings by which the Kohanim will bless the people, the parsha concludes with a lengthy listing of the offerings brought by each of the twelve tribal leaders during the dedication of the Mishkan for regular use. Each prince brought identical gifts which included gold, silver, animal, and meal offerings.
” Dvar Torah ”
The foundation for a solid marriage is based upon four things: Love, trust, respect and forgiveness. If any one of these four ingredients are missing in a marriage, then it creates instability in the union. And the most critical one of them all is, “trust”! Because once you start mistrusting your spouse, then the suspicion will eventually ruin your marriage. So, what do you do if you suspect your spouse of being engaged in immoral activities? What if you don’t trust your spouse of being faithful? How can you get a peace of mind? How could he or she prove her innocent? How can you build that trust again?
Well, in this week’s parsha, the Torah does talk about the man who suspects his wife of committing adultery. The topic is called “Isha Sotah”, a woman who is accused of committing adultery (literally translated as, “one who has strayed”). If she denies the claim, then the husband may take her to the Kohen. Under rare circumstances, if the husband demands for it, she is forced to drink a potion which reveals whether she is guilty or innocent. The way this drink works is quite dramatic. If she is truly innocent, once she drinks it, nothing happens to her and Hashem rewards her and her family with blessing them with a healthy baby. However, if she is guilty, the drink causes her stomach to rupture, killing her in a most dramatic way.
One of the ingredients of this so called “bitter water”, is the ink written on a parchment which is scraped from the parchment’s surface and poured into the water. The writing on the parchment includes the entire text of the Sotah’s oath written in the Torah which also includes Hashem’s full name in its original Hebrew letters.
The question that bothers the Chachamim is why the procedure includes erasing Hashem’s name from the parchment and adding it to the potion? Under normal circumstances, erasing Hashem’s name is strictly forbidden. Some Chachamim even go as far as to say that even erasing or deleting Hashem’s name in foreign languages are also prohibited. That’s why some Torah commentators avoid writing G-o-d, and they replace it with “G-d”! So, If erasing Hashem’s name is consider to be a sin, why couldn’t Hashem perform a miracle without having to erase His name? Why was it necessary for Hashem’s name to be written on the parchment?! Why did Hashem make an exception this time and allow his name to be erased? What was so special about this case?
The Chachamim give the following explanation. First of all, we have to understand that the accused woman is quite guilty. The husband cannot just bring his wife to the Kohen and accuse her of adultery. He had to have seen his wife talking to a strange man in private for a while. In front of two witness, he had to give her a warning not to do it again. But she still ignores the warning and goes with the same strange man in a secluded closed area for a certain period of time. You may say, the man had all the rights to suspect her. She disobeyed the warning, she disrespected her husband’s disapproval and went after her own feelings. The husband has good grounds for a divorce case!
Halachicly, the husband and wife are not required to take the “Sotah” test. They can get a divorce right there and then. But this is when Hashem intervenes. He says I’m willing to do a miracle for you, just to save your marriage. I’m even willing to erase my name, just to get rid of the suspicion, in order to keep your “Shalom Bayit”–peace and harmony in your house !!! Hashem desires that His name be erased in an effort to repair this marriage. Hashem knows that the woman has done something wrong and she has disobeyed her husband, but He is showing us, in order to keep a healthy relationship between husband and wife, there has to be sacrifices and forgiveness! If Hashem can tolerate the wife’s misdeed and is willing to erase his name to save the marriage, then so should the husband!
Keep in mind that going through the “Sotah” procedure is very embarrassing for the wife. Everyone will know that she’s been flirting with another man. But she’s sorry and is willing to go through this shameful process in order to keep their marriage. Public humiliation is no match to win the trust of her husband back! The husband is also making a big sacrifice. He has to overlook and to forgive his wife’s act of indecency! When both husband and wife have done their share of sacrifices, only then, Hashem will intervene miraculously and bring peace in their home and will shower them with the best blessing of all time, which is, a healthy new child!!
Yes my friends, to build a union between man and a woman, you need to have at least three of the main ingredients: love, trust and respect. But if you want it to last forever, you need to have the ability to sacrifice and to forgive. If Hashem is willing to sacrifice his holy name in order to keep the peace and harmony between the husband and his wife, then we should be willing to sacrifice too! Keeping the “Shalom Bayit” is so important that sometimes you are allowed and even obligated to bend the rules! In a relationship, we have to be forgiving and sometimes to overlook our spouse’s mistakes. Yes, mistakes do happen! Sometimes, one spouse does something without the approval of the other! As a result, it can either turn into a big argument, or if both parties are willing to sacrifice and to forgive, then they can keep the peace and harmony in their relationship and they can continue to live a happy life. All it takes is to have the courage to say “I’m sorry” and the will to forgive!
Imagine if the “strayed woman” is blessed with a healthy child when she gains back the trust of her husband, then how much more blessings is Hashem going to bestow upon us if we never loose the spouse’s trust in the first place!
Shabbat Shalom and regards;