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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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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 disassociate himself by taking a Nazirite vow of abstinence for the sake of Hashem. (6:2)

The parsha of nazir is juxtaposed upon the laws of the sotah. These two diverse experiences, with the nazir personifying the apex of sanctity and the sotah acting in a manner that reflects the nadir of depravity, are as diverse from one another as could be. Yet, the Torah places them near one another. Chazal (Bereishis 63a) explain that one who observes a sotah in her degradation should separate himself from wine which can, under the wrong circumstances, lead to sinful behavior. Let us attempt to portray a hypothetical scenario rationally. A holy tzaddik, righteous person, walks through the street…

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ויקריבו הנשאים את חנכת המזבח ביום המשח אתו

And the Nesiim offered up a dedication of the Altar on the day it was consecrated. (7:10)

Chazal (Midrash) teach that even though the offerings of the twelve Nesiim were identical, each individual offering alluded to the singular mission of its tribe; thus, the offering of each Nasi represented a unique spiritual message. Indeed, the Torah could have saved much “ink” by including all the korbanos of the Nesiim under one collective banner: “This is what all of the Nesiim offered.” Actually, why did the Nesiim choose to offer identical korbanos? One would think they each wanted to express the uniqueness and individuality of his own tribe. The Ramban quotes the Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah 13:13), which (in…

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כה תברכו את בני ישראל אמור להם

So, shall you bless Bnei Yisrael, say to them. (6:23)

When we think of blessing, two forms come to mind: Bircas Kohanim, the Priestly blessing; and the brachah of a tzaddik, holy, G-d-fearing Jew. What is the difference in the structure and efficacy of one over the other? One would think – a blessing is a blessing. Does it really matter who is rendering the blessing? Chazal appear to address this question. The Midrash (Tanchuma, Naso 10) notes that the word emor, say (emor lahem) is written malei, full (with a “vov” as opposed to an “O” vowel sound). Chazal derive from here that the blessing rendered by the Kohanim…

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ואם אין לאיש גואל להשיב האשם אליו

If the man has no kinsman to whom the debt can be returned. (5:8)

When one has sworn falsely against a monetary claim and subsequently confesses, he pays the principal plus a fifth to the one against whom he has sinned. If the one against whom he has sinned has died, he pays his heirs. A male convert who has had no children since his conversion, or a female convert who has not married or given birth to children, has no heirs. If one has sinned against them and they die, since they have no heirs, the money is given to the Kohanim. Chazal (Bava Kamma 109a) asks “Do you have a person in…

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