Potential for Greatness by Moe Weiss


Bnei Yisrael are adjusting to life as Hashem’s subjects. Within a short period of time from the acceptance of the Torah, Hashem has assembled Bnei Yisrael, counted them, and given the blueprint for how they are to function. In Parashat Naso, Hashem continues with the establishment of His people.

 The Torah tells us of the complex Halachot regarding a Sotah, the unfaithful wife suspected of adultery. The Torah lists the long process, including suspicion, warning, trial, and verdict. When introducing this section, the Torah states, “UMaalah Vo Maal,” “And she (the Sotah) commits a trespass against him (her husband)” (BeMidbar 5:12). The words “UMaalah” and “Maal” have the same root as “Me’ilah,” the name of the sin of using a utensil for mundane activities after it had been sanctified for the Beit HaMikdash. The Torah correlates these words to teach a lesson. When a man and a woman are together, they have the potential to create another Jew to be an Eved Hashem. This means that every person has a body which has the potential to serve and create in the name of Hashem. If, however, a one misuses his or her body in order to gain only physical pleasure, he or she is taking a sanctified object and using it for mundane purposes. This is the same sin as Me’ilah.

 In contrast, the Torah mentions the unusual Halachot of the Nazir immediately afterwards to show the other extreme. A Nazir vows to Hashem that he will forego physical pleasures such as wine and haircuts in order to further connect himself to Hashem. There is a major dispute among commentators to Tanach if being a Nazir is regarded as positive or negative. That aside, the Torah compares these two extreme cases to display the vast potential in each person.

 Although it is not necessary to be so extreme that one is a Nazir, it is very important to stay far away from giving into one’s temptations and becoming like the Sotah. We have the potential to become true Avdei Hashem, and Hashem has given us both material and spiritual ways to make ourselves closer to Him.

Korban Quandary By Moshe Kollmar

Speak Up! Dovid Gottesman