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Biography of Yehuda Katz | Archives | this week's Parsha


"And the Priest shall take Holy water in an earthen bowl......."(5:17)

When the Sotah( suspected adulterous wife) is being tested in regard to her faithfullness, she is given to drink water in an earthen bowl......A question can be asked, why an earthen bowl? In Bamidbar Rabbah (9:12) and Midrash Hagodal (5:18) it is stated that the use of an earthen vessel demonstrates G-ds compassion. After the Sotah proceedings, this earthen vessel was shattered. Thus, all potential reminders of the proceedings were eradicated, as not to further shame the Sotah........

In Vayikra (25:17), we learn the prohibition against causing a fellow Jew anguish with words known as "Hanoat Devorim" (Baba Metzia 58b).Perhapes from the Sotah we can learn to extend this very pohibition to include objects that can potentially remind a person of an uncomfortable situation.We learn from the "earthen bowl" of the Sotah ,the extent G-d is concerned about a persons honor. If G-d is so concerned about a Jews honor,shouldnt we learn from G-ds glorious example? In Shemot Rabbah (45:6),it is stated," When Mosas ascended Mt. Sinai, G-d showed Mosas a hugh treasure and Mosas asked, To whom is this great treasure? Whereby g-d answered, Unto him who is empty of good deeds I supply freely ,and I help him from this treasure".

Commenting on this Medrash ,the Tomar Devora Xii(Rabbi M. Cordovero ,Zecher Labrocha) states,"There are people who are unworthy and yet G-d has mercy upon them, for G-d says,"Their fathers had to should man behave.........Even when a person meets an unworthy person , he should not behave insultingly towards them, but he should have mercy upon them, saying, "Are they not the children of Abraham?"Thus we must conceal their shame and correct their ways....." Have a good Shabbos


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