Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

That HaShem forgoes His Honor for the sake of making peace between man and wife comes to teach us the importance of humbling our own egos for the sake of making our relationships work.

HaShem placed His Torah into our world in order that everything in existence be elevated to its highest potential in Creation. The Torah is perfect and complete, illuminating all areas of personal, national and international life with its light. In Nasso specifically, the Torah instructs Israel on how to conduct ourselves regarding the delicate situation of a woman suspected of infidelity by her husband.

“HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: Any man whose wife shall go astray and commit treachery against him; and a man could have lain with her carnally, but it was hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she became secluded and could have been defiled – but there was no witness against her – and she had not been forced; and a spirit of jealousy had passed over him and he had warned his wife, and she had become defiled, or a spirit of jealousy had passed over him and he had warned his wife, and she had not become defiled. The man shall bring his wife to the kohen and he shall bring her offering for her, a tenth ephah of barley flour; he shall not pour oil over it and shall not put frankincense upon it, for it is a meal-offering of jealousies, a meal-offering of remembrance, a reminder of iniquity.’” (Bamidbar 5:11-15)


Because loyalty and trust are the foundations of a healthy relationship, the Torah provides a couple with a means of clearing the air and starting fresh. If the woman is in fact innocent, it will be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt and she will then be able to rebuild her marriage. If she is guilty, however, the woman will suffer a gruesome death.

“The kohen shall have the woman stand before HaShem and uncover the woman’s head, and upon her palms he shall put the meal-offering of remembrance – it is a meal-offering of jealousies, and in the hand of the kohen shall be the bitter waters that cause curse.” (Bamidbar 5:18)

The kohen inscribes a curse on a parchment, a curse describing what HaShem will do to the woman if guilty. She responds amen amen and the parchment is dissolved into water, which she then drinks. If guilty, she explodes. If innocent, she is blessed with a child in the near future.

“The kohen shall inscribe these curses on a scroll and erase it into the bitter waters. When he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter waters that cause curse, then waters that cause curse shall come into her for bitterness.” (Bamidbar 5:23-24)

Upon close examination, these instructions seem peculiar. On the scroll containing the curses, G-D’s Name is written numerous times. While it is generally forbidden to erase His Name (D’varim 12:3-4, Hilkhot Yesodei HaTorah 6:1-2), here the Kadosh Barukh Hu Himself commands that His Name be erased in order to bring peace between a man and his wife.

HaShem forgoes His Honor for the sake of making peace between man and wife. This Divine example comes to teach us the importance of humbling our own egos for the sake of making a relationship work. In order to fully express our love in difficult situations, we must first attain a certain degree of modesty. By commanding us to erase His Name into the waters, the Kadosh Barukh Hu teaches us the importance of humility in the maintenance of a healthy relationship.

We should feel tremendous gratitude to HaShem for giving us His Torah and devoting so much of it to the subject of relationships. Marriage, modesty and how we should treat and relate to our loved ones are complex issues that have only become further complicated due to the encroachment of foreign values on our society.

While base immorality and astronomical divorce rates spread throughout civilizations built on the foundations of self-gratification, Israel must look to our sacred Torah for guidance on how to live and behave in a manner that grants full expression to our inner kedusha.

On marital issues, as on all issues, the children of Israel will ultimately revolutionize man’s thinking and bring Creation into a new era of universal peace, spiritual fulfillment and a collective awareness of HaShem’s all encompassing Oneness.

[Republished from Vision Magazine]

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Rav Yehuda HaKohen is an organizer and educator living in northern Judea. As a leader in the Vision movement, he works to empower students and young professionals to become active participants in the current chapter of Jewish history.