Points to Ponder

Naso 5776

When a man or woman shall do one of the sins of Hashem (5:6) – Rashi explains that the phrase L’Mol Maal which appears in VaYikra (5:20) is repeated for 2 lessons. The first is the idea of Vidui as a requirement for atonement and the second is the direction as to what one should do when s/he steals from a Ger – bring restitution to a Kohein if the Ger has no heirs.  Rav Baruch Simon Shlita would often quote the Sfas Emes who explains that the reason for the mention of Vidui by the issue of stealing from a Ger is that whenever we sin we are somehow involved in stealing from Hashem. By being aware that when we are off the path He sets for us, we are inclined to take that seriously.

And he will bring a korban upon her – no oil and no Levonah (5:15) – Rashi explains that it should not have oil because we do not want her Korban to be Mihudar but rather animalistic like the action she is accused of committing and no Levonah because it is descriptive of the Imahos who were likened to Levonah. The Hegyonei HaMussar is fascinated by the fact that at the same moment that we compare the woman’s actions to animals we also compare her to the Imahos. Why the comparisons? He explains that often a person assumes that if s/he is on a lowly plane s/he will not be expected to meet higher levels normally expected of them. Not so, says the Torah – in most instances we need to ask someone why s/he is not only acting animalistically but also why not rise to the occasion of that which is expected of a daughter of the Imahos.

Proximity of Sotah and Nazir (6:2) – The juxtaposition of these 2 sections of the Torah is the subject of Rashi. Rashi cites the Gemara in Sotah that explains that whomever sees the Sotah in her defilement would most certainly hold himself back from wine. Why does the Torah assume that the average person would assume that the degradation of the Sotah would be related to his or her own drinking habits? Rav Shlomo Wolbe ztl. explained that the call here is for a person to recognize that we need to take precautions because the trouble that befalls others can affect us too. We therefore must ask ourselves to think about what brings people to sin and instead of chatting about THEM – to personalize it for ourselves and see to it that we halt the same process in ourselves in the bud before things progress too fast.

A Wagon for 2 Nesiim (7:3) – Rav Neriah ztl. noted the amazing nature of this donation. Normally, 2 leaders are uncomfortable riding in the same wagon. However when we deal with Nisei Yisrael who see the wagons as belonging to Am Yisael and their status as well – being a gift from the people to be used for the people – then it is impossible NOT to be able to share a wagon. There is a critical lesson in that.

Flour mixed with oil for a Mincha (7:13) – Rav Pam ztl. quoted a  Midrash that compares Soles to Torah and explains that it must be mixed with Maasim Tovim – that in the same way that flour is combined with oil to make it fit for consumption, so too, must one’s Torah study be combined with good deeds and proper behavior. For Torah knowledge without Middos has little vaue.Rav Pam added that the title Ben Torah is not limited to the person who sits in Yeshiva every minute of every day (nor is it a guarantee that one who does will earn the title Ben Torah). Rather, it is the person who makes every opportunity to be one of being a Ben Torah by reflecting the Middos of the Torah that gets to earn the coveted title. It is no surprise that the laining of this parsha surrounds Matan Torah for it reflects what the true key for Kabbalas HaTorah is.

Korbanos HaNesiim – The simple understanding of this section of the Torah is that it was a Horaas Shaah. Accordingly it would not be in the Minyan Hamitzvos. Ramban argues that in principle it is a Mitzva for future generations that when you dedicate the Beis HaMikdash, you should make extended celebrations. Rav Schachter Shlita explained that this is the basis of the concept of Megillas Taanis. The fact that the Chashmonaim were victorious in battle was a Kiyum of preserving the Beis Hamikdash and celebrating the success in doing so. The Nesivos and Sfas Emes explain that this is why they established Purim too, in that they thought that it would lead up to building the Geulah. Aschalta D’Geulah means if it looks like it will lead to Geulah it is a Kiyum of the Yom Tov of building a Beis Hamikdash.

On the second day Nesanel Ben Tzuar offered his Korban. He brought the Korban (7:18) – Why is the second person who brought a Korban granted the extra term “Hikriv Es Korbano”. That appears to be somewhat of a redundancy? Rav Shmuel Brazil Shlita explains that Nesanel, as the one who brought the second Korban, had the opportunity to set a pattern of deviation. By doing so, he would have demonstrated that it is the external that made a difference. Instead, he chose to bring the exact same Korban which contained very different Kavanos – but a consistent pattern in the Korban’s offering. In doing so, he offered a second korban. He sacrificed external individuality in exchange for a lesson in external uniformity to the service of HashemHe was true to his name – Nesanel Ben Tzuar – he gave a gift to Hashem of his soul --- despite the tzaar to his ego.

Haftorah: A Malach Hashem appeared to the woman and he said to her behold you are barren and have not had a child but you will become pregnant and have a child (Shoftim 13:3) – Why did the fact that she was barren become so significant to the mission of the Malach? The Midrash notes that there was a long standing argument between Manoach and his wife about who was responsible for their fertility difficulty. Each one blamed the other.  Rav Binyamin Eisenberger Shlita explains that when people are depressed they tend to look to extend the blame to get out of their frustration. This is often the reason for problems in Shalom Bayis in general. However, in this case, in order for the Nes to happen, there needed to be a vessel to hold the Beracha and that vessel was to be Shalom. Thus, the Malach told the woman that it was she, who was barren to end the argument once and for all. However, he told Her and not Manoach so as not to have him hold it over her and tell her “I told you so.”