web analytics
January 31, 2015 / 11 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Home » Judaism » Parsha »

Listen To Your Messages


The-Shmuz

“Speak to the Jewish nation and say, ‘If a man or woman makes a vow to separate as a nazir to Hashem….” – Bamidbar 6:2

If a man suspects his wife of infidelity, he is to bring witnesses and warn her not to go into private quarters with the man in question. If she violates that warning, he is to bring her to the kohen, who will give her the “bitter waters” to drink. If she was falsely accused and was innocent, she will be blessed with children. If she was guilty, she will die a gruesome death.

This is the parshah of the sotah. Immediately after discussing these laws, the Torah details the laws of the nazir and his abstinence from wine. Since these two sections are placed next to each other, the Torah is teaching us there is a connection between them.

Rashi is bothered by the connection. What does an unfaithful wife have to do with a man separating himself from worldly pleasure? Rashi explains that since wine brings a person to immorality, the man who witnessed a woman become a sotah should refrain from drinking wine. The Torah is teaching us that if a man sees a woman fall to such a low level, he should recognize the danger of intoxication and become a nazir to abstain from drinking.

This Rashi is difficult to understand. Either wine is dangerous or it’s not. If wine brings a man to sin, then it should be avoided, regardless of whether he saw the sotah in her debacle. And if wine isn’t inherently dangerous, then why should he make this vow just because he saw her fall?

The answer to this question is based on understanding how Hashem runs the world.

The story is told that when the Chofetz Chaim learned about a major earthquake in Japan, he began crying. Someone asked him, “Why is the Rebbe so troubled?” He answered, “Chazal tell us: ‘Calamities only come to the world because of Yisrael.’ We were meant to hear that message.”

The Chofetz Chaim was making a significant point. For reasons that only Hashem knows, a vast number of people were supposed to die that day. There are, however, many ways their deaths could have come about. There are many messengers in Hashem’s employ and many ways for Him to fulfill his decree. The reason those people died in such a violent manner was so that we would hear about it and learn from it.

Learning to Listen

This seems to be the answer to the Rashi. Nothing in this world just happens. There are no random events. Nothing is by chance. Hashem speaks to us; there are, however, many vehicles and media He uses to communicate with us. Sometimes it’s simply by arranging that someone should be in a particular place at a particular time. The fact that this man was witness to the sotah’s disgrace wasn’t by accident. He was supposed to see that event. Hashem was saying to him, “Look how far things can go. Wine itself is a tool; it can be used for good or for bad. Other people may not have to be concerned, but for you, this is dangerous. See what happened to that woman? Take it to heart – it could happen to you.”

A wise man listens to his messages and takes corrective action. In this case, the correct response is for that man to abstain from drinking by becoming a nazir. By putting these two unrelated concepts next to each other, the Torah is teaching us we should be aware of the way that Hashem speaks to us through events of our lives.

This concept carries a powerful lesson. There is a Master of this World who orchestrates every event and every occurrence. And He speaks to us. The reason we have difficulty hearing the message is because He remains hidden behind the veil of natural occurrences. Our job is to cut through the fog, to see behind the smoke and mirrors, to recognize Who orchestrates these events, and to understand what He is saying to us. When things occur and we happen to be present, there is a reason. We were meant to hear it and learn from it. Whatever we experience, whether personally or communally, has a message for us, and we are supposed to be open to it and learn from it.

A Changed World

This idea is especially poignant in our times. On August 6, 1945, the Japanese city of Hiroshima was wiped off the face of the map, and reality was changed. With one explosion, neighborhoods, communities – an entire modern city – was obliterated. Never in the course of history was so much force placed into the hands of man. It took a while to grasp that we had entered a new era, the era of atomic power.

That power is now a threat to mankind. Iran, an evil regime on the brink of nuclear armament, thinly veils its aspiration to use those weapons against its sworn enemies, the United States and Israel. North Korea, long known to have both a nuclear and chemical arsenal, now threatens its neighbors with wanton destruction. Civilization as we know it is in jeopardy.

And there is message in this for us. That message is for us recognize that Hashem is in complete control. He alone orchestrates and coordinates every event under the sun. He puts pawns into positions of power, using them to deliver his message. Is the threat real? In a sense, it is. If we don’t heed the message, the result could be devastation beyond anything we’ve seen before. If we do listen, these pawns become revealed for what they were – mere puppets in the theater of life.

All that Hashem wants from each of us is to return to His ways, to follow the Torah with all our heart and soul. He speaks to us in different ways. We have to listen to our messages.

About the Author: Rabbi Shafier is the founder of the Shmuz.com – The Shmuz is an engaging, motivating shiur that deals with real life issues. All of the Shmuzin are available free of charge at the www.theShmuz.com or on the Shmuz App for iphone or Android.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Listen To Your Messages”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Jeremy Bird, working for Israeli campaign outfit V15, shown at Ted Talk, May 20, 2014.
V15 US Political Operative Marinated in Hate-Israel Activism
Latest Judaism Stories
Staum-013015

People often think that all they are missing is “just a little more” and then they can be truly happy.

Torah-Hakehillah-121914

The Midrash is teaching a fundamental message of what it means to be a religious person.

Rabbi Sacks

Torah opposes slavery; G-d desires the free worship of free human beings, yet slavery’s permitted-?!

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

France allowed Islamists to flourish despite their loyalty to Islamic sharia law not French values

Approximately 18 years ago, my uncle called me into his office saying he had an urgent matter to discuss. I didn’t know what he had in mind.

“Where is God?” asked the Kotzker Rebbe “God is not everywhere but only where you let Him enter”

An Explosion In The Trench
‘With A Glowing Hot Knife’
(Yevamos 120b)

Her first tactic was tefillah; she immediately began to recite one perek after another of Tehillim.

When a miracle occurs that transcends nature, Hashem has broken the laws of nature to create the miracle.

“How could you have expected my glasses to be there?” argued Mr. Weiss. “You shouldn’t have to pay.”

Rather than submit to this fate and suffer torture and humiliation, Shaul decided to fall on his sword.

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

A strange midrash of fruit trees surrounding the Nation of Israel as they walked to freedom

Leading by example must be visible, regarding where, when and how-like Nachshon entering the Red Sea

Rabbi Yaakov Nagen, a Ram at Yeshivat Otniel, notes that the verse is suggesting that retelling the story of the Exodus is so important that Hashem is performing ever-greater miracles specifically so that parents can tell their stories to future generations.

More Articles from Rabbi Ben Tzion Shafier
The-Shmuz

How can the Da’as Zekeinim say this was Hashem’s plan to allow them to become the Torah Nation? We know it was actually a punishment.

The-Shmuz

How is it possible that the clothing was more valuable to them than gold or silver?

It is exactly like that of an animal, with all of the passions and desires necessary to drive man though his daily existence.

How did their hatred toward the Jews make their own lives disgusting? It’s the Jews they hated, not themselves.

When Hashem made man, He created two worlds – this world and the World to Come. Each has its purpose.

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

Our right to exist and our form of self-government were decided by the ruling parties.

If Hashem is watching tzaddikim, why couldn’t He just save Yosef from all the suffering he was about to endure?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/listen-to-your-messages/2013/05/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: