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Shabbat Parashat Naso | 5768
Armor for Unconventional Offensive
Parashat HashavuaHarav Yosef Carmel
Chazal learn an operative lesson from the juxtaposition of two major elements of the parasha, the laws of the nazir (one who refrains from wine) and those of sota (a promiscuous woman suspected of adultery). “Whoever sees the deterioration of a sota should make an oath to refrain from wine.” How do we understand this midrash? How would one who listens to rabbinic advice see the illicit acts of a sota, whose actions take place privately (the Torah says that there was no witness to the event-Bamidbar 5:13)? Our conclusion is that this person is the man who was illicitly involved with the sota. He is the one who should stay away from wine.
Shimshon, the subject of our haftara, has a very different situation. He did not decide to become a nazir or react to a certain situation. Rather, Hashem ordained his nezirut for the purpose of enabling him to save Israel (Shoftim 13:5). What is the connection between Shimshon’s nazir status and his success as a savior?
The connection between exposure to promiscuity and nezirut is strongly evident in Shimshon’s story. This is most strongly expressed by Chazal’s statement: “Shimshon followed his eyes; therefore, the Philistines gouged out his eyes.” The next chapter in the navi describes Shimshon’s first encounter with a foreign woman: “He went down to Timna and saw there a woman from the daughters of the Philistines … ‘take her for me for she is fitting in my eyes’” (ibid. 14:1-3). This was Shimshon’s form of seeing the sota in her state, while he was “protected” by his nezirut. That is why the G-d fearing Shimshon (who took great steps to fulfill the decree of nezirut)took this somewhat bizarre route to save Israel. He understood that the reason Hashem ordained him to be a nazir was that He wanted Shimshon to engage in dangerous situations with women. But what was the perceived purpose?
Throughout Tanach and human history in general the “strong side” took the daughters of the weaker side as a wife. That is why the Egyptians proclaimed that daughters of Paroh were never taken by foreigners (although in fact they did marry Avraham and Shlomo). This explains the change of terminology between the original and the altered version of the intermarrying that Shechem described between his tribe and Yaakov’s family, as Shechem stressed taking wives for themselves. This also explains Yoash, the king of Israel’s scorning of the suggestion that Amatzia would take his daughter, as Yoash saw himself as the superior (Divrei Hayamim II, 25:18). (Nowadays, of course, this type of marriage arrangement has passed from the world.)
Based on this background, Shimshon’s marriage with the sota (Philistine woman) had national significance as a proclamation that the time during which the Philistines enslaved the Israelites was over. Indeed we have proved elsewhere that this proclamation of independence lasted for a long period.
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This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated in loving memory of
Saul (Sh’muel Shalom ben Leib)
and Mildred (Malka bat Yechezkel) Gershon
by their daughter, Mrs. Betsy Kaplan
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker of
Max and Mary Sutker
and Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.