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כל ימי נזרו קדש הוא לד'... ועשה הכהן אחד לחטאת

All the days of his abstinence he is holy to Hashem… The Kohen shall make one as a sin-offering. (6:8,11)

On the surface, the term nezirus begs elucidation. Is the Nazir a tzaddik, a righteous person, or is he, on some level, a sinner? The Torah refers to him as a kadosh, holy, to Hashem. Yet, he must bring a Korban Chatas, sin-offering, at the end of his period of nezirus. Surely, someone who is considered kadosh should not have to bring a sin-offering. What sin did he commit? Various opinions are stated concerning the Nazir’s “breach” in holiness. He should not have achieved this pinnacle through the vehicle of abstinence from wine. A person should override his gravitation toward…

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ולא יתן עליו לבונה

And he shall not put frankincense upon it. (5:15)

Rashi explains that the ingredients which comprised the Minchas Sotah were unlike that of other Menachos. The sotah’s Minchah used barley, which is eaten by animals, as opposed to wheat, which is consumed by humans. Her base actions were indicative of someone who had gravitated more to the animal sphere. There was no oil, since oil is the symbol of light, and the sotah acted in darkness. Last, there is no frankincense because the Hebrew word for frankincense is levonah, which is the term the Torah uses to describe our Imahos, Matriarchs. Implied by the lack of frankincense is that…

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איש איש כי תשטה אשתו ומעלה בו מעל

Any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him. (5:12)

The Aseres HaDibros, Ten Commandments, mentions adultery as one of the cardinal sins for which one must sacrifice his life rather than transgress it. Yet, surprisingly, throughout the parshah of sotah, the wayward wife, no mention is made of the woman’s transgression against Hashem. Never is the phrase, mo’alah maal b’Hashem, mentioned. It is against the husband. This leads us to suggest that the egregious nature of the sin of adultery is its destruction of the marriage bond. As a result, it is a transgression against Hashem. First and foremost is what the sotah does to the institution of holy…

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ואיש את קדשיו לו יהיו

A man’s holies shall be his (5:10)

The maxim of the Chafetz Chaim concerning this pasuk is well-known. Only what someone designates for kedushah, holiness, remains his. One does not take his financial portfolio with him to the next world. Eitz Chaim hee la’machazikim bah; “It is a tree of life to those who hold on to it” (Mishlei 3:18). We must hold onto the Torah and follow it. The Torah does not need our support. On the contrary, we need the Torah to keep us afloat. I came across a poignant story, followed by a comment of Horav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler, zl, that is powerful and…

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... וקרבנו קערת כסף אחת

His offering one silver bowl… (7:13)

The twelve Nesiim brought identical offerings. Yet, the Torah details each Nasi’s korban. This is because each arrived at his formulation independently, and each had a different set of symbolisms for his choice of components. In other words, on the surface, they appeared identical, and, in reality, they all brought the same offerings; however, the underlying motif and symbolism differed from one Nasi to another. Each Nasi’s kavanah, intention for his korban, differed from that of his peer. Horav Shimshon Pincus, zl, derives from here an important lesson concerning one’s avodas hakodesh, service to Hashem. People live within an established…

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ישא ד' פניו אליך וישם לך שלום

May Hashem lift His countenance to you and establish peace for you. (6:26)

Simply, this means that Hashem will suppress His disappointment with us when we sin. He will continue to show us special consideration and not punish us. Chazal (Berachos 20b, Bamidbar Rabbah 11:4) question why G-d would show special consideration to Klal Yisrael when they do not deserve it. Indeed, Hashem cannot be bribed, as it says (Devarim 10:17): Asher lo yissa panim v’lo yikach shochad, “Who does not lift a countenance (does not overlook a sin if the sinner is undeserving of favor) and does not accept bribery.” They explain that the Jewish people are worthy of Hashem’s favor and…

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והביא האיש את אשתו אל הכהן והביא את קרבנה עליה עשירית האיפה קמח שעורים לא יצוק עליו שמן ולא יתן עליו לבונה

The man shall bring his wife to the Kohen, and he shall bring her offering for her, a tenth-eiphah of barley flour; he shall not pour oil over it and shall not put frankincense upon it. (5:15)

Her husband brings the Minchas Sotah, meal-offering of the wayward wife. It is not a normal offering in the sense that its ingredients are a reminder of her moral transgression. This minchah should invoke within her a confrontation with her profligate past, the activities which brought her here in the first place. All she has to do is confess and correct her ways. In the face of the terrifying fate which will be hers if she refuses to acknowledge her guilt, her obstinacy will be her downfall. Rather than offering a meal-offering consisting of flour, hers is made of barley,…

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כה תברכו את בני ישראל...ושמו את שמי על בני ישראל ואני אברכם

So shall you bless Bnei Yisrael. (6:23)…Let them place My Name upon Bnei Yisrael, and I will bless them. (6:27)

In the three pesukim of Bircas Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, the Kohanim serve as the medium through which Hashem’s blessing reaches us. Hashem is the One Who blesses us via the conduit of the Kohen. Prior to offering the blessing, the Kohanim recite a berachah, “Who commands us to bless His People, Yisrael – b’ahavah, with love.” Thus, if the blessings are to achieve efficacy, the tenor of the relationship between kohen and congregation – and vice versa – must be one of love, no animus towards any member of the congregation for any reason. This applies to the flipside….

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ואם לא נטמאה האשה וטהורה היא ונקתה ונזרע זרע

But if the woman had not become defiled and she is pure, then she shall be proven innocent and she shall bear seed. (5:28)

Unquestionably, the suspected sotah had gone through a harrowing ordeal. At the end, her claims of innocence were miraculously proven correct. She had not committed adultery. As a result, she will be blessed. Chazal (Sotah 26a) teach that she will bear children more easily. If she had heretofore suffered difficult labor, she will now experience an easy birth. If her babies had been dark-skinned, they will now be fair. If she had previously been barren, Hashem will give her a child to compensate for her ordeal. A wonderful reward for what? This woman had acted in a manner that provoked…

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איש איש כי תשטה אשתו ומעלה בו מעל....איש או אשה כי יפלא לנדר נדר נזיר להזיר לד'

Any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him. (5:12)….A man or woman who shall dissociate himself by taking a Nazarite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem. (6:2)

In the Pri Tzaddik (Naso 13), Horav Tzadok HaKohen, zl, m’Lublin, observes a striking disparity with regard to the laws associated with sotah and nazir in the Torah and their placement in the Mishnah and Talmud. In the Torah, the laws of sotah, the wayward wife, precede those of the nazir; in contrast, in the Talmud, Meseches Nazir, precedes Meseches Sotah. Rav Tzadok posits that an important moral lesson can be derived from the Torah’s sequence of sotah before nazir. The sotah is a woman who is suspected of acting immorally outside of her marriage. A woman whose infidelity plummets…

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