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Haftarah: Shoftim 13:2-25


"But if the woman had not forfeited her purity and is pure then she remains untouched and shall conceive seed." (Bemidbar 5:28)

In Parashat Naso we are taught a most encouraging lesson. The Torah tells us about a married woman who is suspected of being unfaithful. She is tested with a special drink prepared by the Kohen. If she was really unfaithful, she will die. If she was innocent she lives. However, not only does she live, but the Talmud (Berachot 31) says that one opinion says if she was unable to conceive and have children, now she will. Another opinion says that if she had difficulty giving birth up until now, she will give birth easily. All agree that she will be blessed.

There is a great question here. Why is she blessed? This is a woman whom the Torah says was warned by her husband not to go into private seclusion with this man. She went so far as to rebel against her husband by going into seclusion. We know this is so, because if she didn't, she is not even tested with the waters. So why is she blessed?

Rabbi Eliyahu Lopian says we have here a fundamental lesson. This woman was low enough that as a married woman she went so far as to go into seclusion despite being warned. It must be she had a great fire of desire burning in her! Why didn't she do the final sin? We must say that when it came to the moment of truth, she conquered her desire and "did not become impure" and "thv vruvy - she is pure!" What a great victory! She might be held accountable for disobeying her husband and must make teshubah. However, Hashem will reward her fully for her great act of self control. Hashem does not hold back reward for any good act we do, even if it is mixed in with something less than good. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah

"If a man's wife strays" (Bemidbar 5:12)

The word which is used to denote straying (vya,) is the same word which means "folly - vyua." Indeed, the Rabbis tell us that a person does not sin unless a spirit of folly enters him first. This means that any rational and sane person would know not to commit a transgression. What happens to a person, however, is that momentarily he is overtaken by a desire or an impulse, and therefore does something wrong. This is akin to temporary insanity. Is it not insane that we argue with our spouses about foolish things, letting everything go to pieces because of a minor issue which is usually resolvable if we wouldn't stand on ceremony? What about words said in anger or spite? Is that not foolish? If we would go down the line, we would see that there is no logic to most of our transgressions!

This is the lesson of the wayward woman, the sotah. If we learn to be on the lookout for this "spirit of foolishness," we can nip it in the bud, and let our reason and common sense keep us in line. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka


There is a vast difference in the spiritual achievement resulting from a good deed that is done with intent to please Hashem, and one that is done without focusing intent Heavenward.

The difference is illustrated in the following parable:

There was a man who rose every day before dawn and went from house to house delivering bottles of milk. A resident of the town happened to wake up early one morning and saw him making his rounds. He noticed the efficient, systematic way in which the man dropped off the bottles at one house and rushed to the next, hardly talking time to breathe.

"What an act of hesed," he thought to himself, greatly impressed.

His view of the situation changed drastically when he learned that the man did not make these deliveries out of the goodness of his heart, but for profit. This was his job. He was the local milkman!

So it is with us. When our intentions are pure, our deeds become elevated. All that we do can be elevated in the spiritual realm if we would just focus on "good for good's sake."

Two Rabbis were walking in Jerusalem and saw a man fixing potholes. One turned to the other and commented, "This man cold get the great misvah of yishub Eress Yisrael - settling and building the Land of Israel. All he has to do is think that this is his goal, and his menial job becomes an eternal misvah!"

Take a minute before you begin to do something - anything - and find a way to make your simple day-to-day routine Heaven-oriented. It only takes a minute, and the reward is immeasurable. (One Minute With Yourself - Rabbi Raymond Beyda)

* * * * *

A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.

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