Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thoughts on Parashat NASSO

Photo: Mark Rothko


The Midrash Tanchuma is telling us the following story in regard of this week's Torah Parasha NASSO:

There was an incident involving two sisters who resembled each other. One of them was married (and lived) in one town, and the other one was married (and lived) in another town. The husband of one of them wanted to warn her (against secluding herself with another man) and to have her drink the bitter waters in Jerusalem. She went to the town where her sister lived. Her sister said to her, "Why did you come here ?" She answered, "My wants to have me drink the bitter waters". The sister said, "I will go and drink instead of you".
She answered, "Go !" Her sister put on her clothes and went instead of her. She drank the bitter waters, was founded innocent, and went back to her sister's house. Her sister went out to greet her joyfully. She hugged her, and kissed her on the mouth. When they kissed, (the sister who was suspected by her husband) smelled the bitter waters, and died immediately, in fulfillment of that which it says, "Man is not in control of the wind, to be able to confine the wind, and he has no authrority on the day of death. There is no substitution in war, nor does evil escape him to whom it belongs". (Ecclesiastes / Kohelet 8:8)

First, Parashat Nasso lets us know who carried which parts of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and then explains the fate of an adultery woman.

What is the point to explain every single part of the Mishkan and who carried which part in such detail ? Sometimes it seems really boring. All these descriptions and the reader feels like falling asleep. 

One explanation I heard is that no matter if you come from the Merari family, are a son of Moshe or anyone else, G - d gave everyone a job to do. A task in life and it doesn't mean that if you are not a Cohen, a Levite or any other celebrity, you are a nobody in life. Everyone of us has his task and the general manager is not much better than the secretary or the cleaning lady. 
We all have our goal in life and each of us has a different one.

When during Temple times a husband suspected his wife of having an adulterous relationship with anther man, he was supposed to warn her not to be with this man alone. In case she didn't listen to her husband and thus ignored his warning, he could take her into the Temple in Jerusalem where she had to undergo a special procedure in order to find out whether she betrayed her husband with another man.

Water was taken from the Kiyor (in the Temple) and mixed with earth from the Azarah (the area around the Kodesh HaKodeshim (Holy of Holies). Her hair was uncovered and the woman had to drink the water. If she was guilty, she died a terrible death because her stomach just exploded. If she was innocent, she was able to go back to her husband and it is said that then she had the merit (S'chut) to have another child.

To be honest: If I was married and my husband was dragging me to Jerusalem due to some suspicion and I had to undergo this whole procedure just to prove my innocence and then returning to the husband and have another child - well, I would throw him rather out of the house.
This is how women see it today but maybe in Temple times, women were more patient or I don't know how to call it. 

If the wife is guilty, I do see the point but what about the husband. He is allowed to have a relationship outside his marriage. You can say whatever you want, Parashat Nasso with the Sotah subject seems to be really unfair to women. And in case you are claiming the opposite, you must be a MAN !

Despite the "Sotah Waters", have a great Shabbat, Shabbat Shalom ! 

No comments:

Post a Comment