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Friday, June 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Naso

There are a number of interesting correlations between this week's parsha and this week's haftarah. The obvious connection is that the haftara speaks of Shimshon who was a nazir and the nazir is discussed in this week's parsha. However, there are some other connections that lie beneath the surface. First, the sotah process is discussed in this week's parsha. We are taught, (according to one opinion in the gemara Sotah 26a) that a sotah who was previously childless, will become pregnant if she emerges from the sotah process alive as an innocent woman. R' Dovid Kohn explains why this is. If someone is childless, it is because there has been some decree from Shamayim that this person suffers, for whatever reason, a punishment comparable to death. However, there are other circumstances mentioned by Chazal that are comparable to death. One of them is embarrassment. If someone embarrasses another person, it is as if they are killing them (Pirkei Avos). Therefore, when the woman goes through the sotah process, she endures so much humiliation that she has served the punishment equaling death and now there is no longer a place for the decree of infertility. This concept, too, is seen in the haftara. The midrash recounts that Ivtzan (Boaz) who was the judge at the time, had 30 sons and 30 daughters and made two banquets for each one. However, he did not invite Manoach, Shimshon's father to any of these banquets for he reasoned "He doesn't have any kids, how could he ever return the favour?" R' Dovid Kohn suggests that here too it was enduring the embarrassment of 120 banquets to which he was not invited, an embarrassment directly related to the fact that he was childless, that earned him the merit to eventually have a child.

Also, Chazal tell us that the purpose of the sotah process is to eventually instill peace between man and his wife by resolving the existing conflict. Peace is so important that HaShem has His name erased in the water for it. In the haftara we also see the importance of peace between a man and his wife. The midrash recounts that when Manoach and his wife were not able to have children, they were fighting over whose fault it was that they were not having kids. Therefore, the angel informed Manoach's wife that she was in fact the akarah. R' Chaim Kanievsky writes that from here we learn a very important lesson regarding establishing peace and harmony by resolving conflict. If you know that one party in an argument is correct, it is proper to go over to the one who is wrong and inform them so that they may confess, for in that way you will preserve peace. If you inform the one who was correct, you will not resolve the argument and the conflict will only continue. That is why the angel went directly to Manoach's wife rather than Manoach. The prevalence of the theme of shalom is also found in the culmination of birkas kohanim (which is actually the pasuk on which this midrash appears.)

Have a good Shabbos.


Eliezer Bulka

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