(Numbers: 4:21-7:89) / (Haftara: Shoftim 13:2-25) / (Pirkay Avot: Chapter 1)

1. [5:12] “…if a man’s wife goes astray…”   When a husband suspects his wife of being unfaithful, she drinks something which tests her faithfulness. In our modern society, if a person would suspect the faithfulness of the spouse, the couple would or would not resolve the issue. In the old Torah society, the issue would be resolved, but the wife would have to go through this humiliation. Which is better?

2. [5:23] “…and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness.”  God’s name is written on that piece of paper which is put into the water that the woman drinks. It is a sin to erase God’s  name, but it is erased nonetheless only in this situation.  From this action we learn the importance of peace in the family. Is peace in the family really more important than peace between friends, within organizations and countries, etc.? 

3. [6:25-26] “May God shine his face on you and be gracious to you.”  In Hebrew,a number of single things are written in the plural–for example, sky, life, water and others. These seem to be things which are not simple objects. “Face”, in Hebrew is also in the plural. However, it seems to be a simple object. Why is face in the plural in Hebrew?

4. [Haftara: Shoftim 13:5] “..he will be a nazir for God…”  Shimshon was born with the restrictions and duties of nazirim. A nazir does not cut his or her hair, drink wine or use grape products, or go to a cemetery even for the funeral of close relatives. The Torah does not usually encourage ascetic behavior. What purpose does a nazir serve in Jewish society?

5. [Pirkay Avot 1:1] “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai…”  Shouldn’t this say that Moshe received the Torah on Sinai, or Moshe received the Torah from God. Why does the mishna say that Moshe received the Torah from Sinai?

Commentary

There are two things that one should never worry about– what can be corrected and what cannot be corrected. What can be corrected should be corrected at once, without any worry. And as for what cannot be corrected, worrying will not help.

–R. Yechiel Michel, Zlotshov, Ukraine, 1786.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And  to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer