Returning Shortly

May 28, 2017 at 2:07 AM , , ,

“…A man whose wife strayed and was unfaithful to him…” – Bamidbar 5:12

אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי תִשְׂטֶה אִשְׁתּוֹ וּמָעֲלָה בוֹ מָעַל – במדבר ה, יב

A sotah is a married woman suspected of adultery, whom the Torah prohibits from being with her husband until she proves her innocence. The term sotah means, “a woman who strays,” and comes from the verse in the Torah, “A man whose wife strayed (sisteh) and was unfaithful to him.” The word shtus, meaning foolishness or irrationality, also stems from the same root. The Torah’s description of the sotah’s sin with a term synonymous with foolishness teaches us, says the Talmud (Sotah 3a), that for a Jew to transgress the Torah is simply unconceivable unless he or she is not thinking rationally.

The Torah’s allusion to this principle in the context of the laws of a sotah also teaches us that, like a sotah, a Jew’s distance from G-d through “foolish” transgression of the Torah is only temporary. A sotah is not necessarily guilty of adultery; she is deemed a sotah simply because she behaved in a manner that allowed for suspicion. Such conduct is in and of itself immodest for a Jewish girl, temporarily barring her from her normal married life. Once she drinks the miraculous “sotah waters,” however, and establishes her innocence, she returns to her husband and they live happily ever after.

Returning Shortly

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In fact, the Torah states her marriage will now be even more blessed than it was previously (see Bamidbar 5:28). If she was barren, she will now conceive; if she gave birth painfully, she will now give birth with ease; if she used to give birth to unattractive children, she will now give birth to beautiful children (see Talmud, Sotah 26a; Jerusalem Talmud, Sotah 3:4).

The same is true concerning the distance from G-d caused by any sin. The Jewish people as a whole are regarded as G-d’s “wife,” which is why our conduct is of such significance to Him. Yet even when the foolishness of the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, gets the better of us, our distance from G-d is only temporary. For ultimately, every Jew will certainly do teshuva and be cleared from his sin, and his relationship with G-d will then be renewed, enhanced and intensified.

—Likkutei Sichos, vol. 2, pp. 313-314


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