In Parashat Nasso, we learn of the importance of teshuva (repentance). The Rambam writes that if a person intentionally or unintentionally transgresses any of the mitzvot of the Torah (either a positive command or a prohibition), they are required to verbally confess before H-shem. As found in the book of Bamidbar (Numbers), Chapter 5, verse 6, the phrase לִמְעֹל מַעַל (Lim-ol Ma-al) Ba’H-shem means to act treacherously against H-Shem. In addition, we can interpret those words as trespassing or stealing from H-shem.

How is this possible? According to our sages, when each Jewish child is born, an angel makes them swear that they will be a tzadik (righteous person). So, during a person’s life, every time they commit an aveira (sin), they are breaking the vow and therefore in violation of that oath. We can infer that his/her body does not belong to themselves but to H-shem for the purpose of doing mitzvot. If a Jew commits an aveira, they are therefore obligated to perform teshuva.

One verse discusses how in a similar manner to the thief’s transgression against H-shem, a wife transgresses against her husband. In verse 12, the phrase וּמָעֲלָה בוֹ מָעַל (Uma-ala Vo Ma’al) refers to this. From here, we learn of the sotah, a suspected adulteress who was seen going into seclusion with another man despite a warning. As part of the process to determine if she is guilty of the aveira, the woman (who denies any impropriety) is brought to the Temple and drinks a cup of holy water. If she indeed willingly committed adultery, she explodes. If she is unharmed by the water, she is cleared of any suspicion.

The next verse discusses the nazir, a person that abstains from wine and grape products, allows their hair to grow, and who may not come in contact with a human corpse. The connection between the sotah and the nazir is apparent. Our sages stated that one who saw the sotah explode should become a nazir, even if they were distraught. This witness would have an understanding that the event may have been triggered by overindulgence. By becoming a nazir and taking on the restrictions for 30 days, he created a protection for himself against that possibility. He also took on certain holiness and enhanced his spiritual character.



Since we don’t have the ceremony of the sotah today, one may ask how we can apply the lessons from the Torah. Years ago, the primary cause of the indiscretion may have been wine. Today, there are vastly different influences. While ongoing political and economic wars are relevant, perhaps the most important war is one that is spiritual in nature. The media and entertainment industry have been incredibly successful in polluting culture, destroying souls and discouraging any sort of critical thinking. A morally bankrupt society that glorifies those in the entertainment industry isn’t one that can sustain itself. Although I am still hopeful that this glorification will end, our society at large does not clearly comprehend that they are engaged in this war. For if they were to understand, this war could easily be won. Like the nazir, we can be extra vigilant to protect ourselves against these negative forces and look past what are merely distractions. Instead of pointing fingers at others, we should first point them to ourselves.

Originally posted on News with Chai.

One Response

  1. Oren Wysocki

    I suppose the general public is of A low spiritual height, and that is the main reason that this war cannot be won. Not because their iq is to low, as we know that Hashem will never burden us with A test we are incapable of passing. It is possible that we are at to low A level of moral conviction to recognize evil from good, and therefore don’t realize how serious and important our time in history is. Perhaps we inherited our moral level from the sins of Jews of the past, certainly every period of history with Hashem is important, but if we have inherited A burden that does not mean the consequences of failing these tests may not be horrible to ourselves and everybody we love in this world. The easiest way to put it is that the Jewish peoples right to exist, to influence events, to attain A portion of the economic resources and make A living are still in dispute in this world. If we do not talk them out, then only false flags await us.
    I have always disliked the story of the sotah. It always annoyed me as unjust and now it is clear that it always has been. Every unrepentant murderer and crooked businessman would love to have A test where they would drink from A cup and allow their heads to explode if they committed A murder or robbed somebody of their money. It would completely violate the principal of free will, since then it would be obvious that G-d existed if the Jews head exploded. It is A test that should be implemented for all sin if the religious authorities do not have the integrity to tell us what the real punishment should be for A woman who cheats on her man, and man who cheats on his woman.
    As far as the nazir solution to elevate your soul and give you greater discernment, again it is glaringly obvious that speaking of the Torah rules pertaining to how one gentile should behave to another, and how one nation should behave to another would serve as A much greater bridge to A Jew understanding why the arab muslims behavior including estimations of percentages of support justifies A complete separation from Jews. The evidence of the gap between what idealists wish the arabs are like, and the realities of what they are mostly like and the inevitable consequences of those mentalities and beliefs all help the Jews come to the conclusion of what the Torah actually supports pertaining to Jews living with gentiles. Namely separation, which most Jews desire and most Israelis support. I assert that it is not the arab muslims that continue to deceive the Jewish people to continue to give peace another chance, it is the completely fanatical opinions of the americans and the Europeans pertaining to coexistence that offers no solution regardless of behavior or hostility, racial hatred, religious hatred and A desire for conquest, conflict and war on the part of the arab muslims. Ask americans if there was some logic to discriminating against germans in world war, 2 and most will agree that profiling likely nazis by there skin color and nation of origin made sense. They probably would have supported detaining germans if they had committed as many terrorist attacks as muslims have today. But their reaction to rounding up mullatoes and black people would be radically different than white germans and other whites sympathetic to white power. To A certain degree the Jews in Israel should be educated that in examples of extreme hypocrisy and unequal standards before the law for different races, Jews should grasp that there is no real free speech in America. That the television networks will announce that profiling black people is wrong, while not discussing considerable evidence of widescale support for profiling, demonization and discriminating against white men, and Jews who stand up to arab muslim violence, speak of it or fight against it with violence. The American media will simply state that profiling is wrong, they will censor all contrary arguments and they will repeat their accusation as if everybody agrees with their dictates regardless if nobody does. The overwhelming majority of the white gentiles of America and Europe would literally rather be exterminated by blacks and mullatoes rather than speak publicly about their opposition to black and arab abuse. It is true when you factor in how many would support such politicians, white and black as long as they sugar coated it and lied about violating white peoples rights, redistributing their wealth and slowly snuffing them out by not allowing white men to identify the violence and intimidation emanating from the black community and how Americas current legal moral framework would have A white man go to prison for standing up to blacks or arabs with deadly force which will probably be necessary as the outrage against A white man killing ‘one of them’ regardless of