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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In honor of those who live in Eretz Yisrael...

This week, those of us still living in Chutz LaAretz are going to have a second day Yom Tov, whereas in Eretz Yisrael, there will be a "regular" Shabbos leining of Parshas Naso.

So in honor of those living in Eretz Yisrael, I'll say over a little Machashavah of mine on the Parshah:

In Revi'i (which is one of the longest Aliyos out there; I've been teaching a Bar Mitzvah boy this Parshah, and wow did he have it rough with that Aliyah!), we read three seemingly disparate sections: Sotah, Nazir, and Bircas Cohanim. What do they have to do with each other?

We're familiar with "HaRo'eh Sotah B'Kilkulah Yazir Atzmo Min HaYayin" (One who sees a Sotah in her degradation should abstain from wine) but how does Bircas Cohanim fit in here?

Perhaps the Torah lists these three things, one after the other, as a way of contrasting three Madreigos of Ahavah.

In the Parshah of Sotah, the Torah is telling us what a completely misguided and perverted Ahavah can look like. Here are two people who think that they are experiencing Ahavah, when it is really nothing but the opposite. HaRav Dessler famously explains that Ahavah comes from the word "Hav", to "give". An adulterous relationship is a "Meila", an embezzlement, selfish taking. This is what popular culture may call Ahavah, and people can be fooled into thinking that it is, but it is nothing of the sort.

The Nazir is in a rehabilitative stage of Ahavah in terms of his relationship with Hashem. Here is a person who feels he needs shoring up of his Ahavas Hashem, and the method chosen is one of Perishus. If we can imagine a person who wants to develop a relationship, he would do well to avoid topics of conversation that can easily shift into areas that the other side would find offensive. The abstention from wine, and from cutting hair, shift the focus away from oneself and toward Hashem, He whom the Nazir is trying to rehabilitate his relationship of Ahavah with.


The next Parshah is that of Bircas Cohanim. The ultimate in Ahavah. They bentch the Jewish people, as they were commanded, B'Ahavah. There are no ulterior motives, no need for holding back on anything. We are at ease with each other, B'Kol Ram, Panim Mul Panim, an outpouring of Ahavah and blessing for the best in Ruchniyus and Gashmiyus.

That is what true Ahavah is.

Halevai, we will merit VeSamu Es Shemi Al Bnei Yisrael, V'Ani Avorachem.

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