Category Archives: Naso

Parshas Naso 5775

But if the woman had not become defiled and she is innocent, she shall bear seed. (Bamidbar 5/28)

Basically the laws of Sotah are as follows: 

A man warns his wife not to seclude herself with a certain man and she ignores the warning and secludes herself with that man in front of two witnesses.   She must then bring a certain korbon and drink water in which the Name of Hashem was dissolved in it. If she was not faithful to her husband she swells from the water that she drank until she dies. However, if she was actually faithful to her husband and is innocent she will bear seed.

There are two opinions in the Gemorro exactly what does “and she will bear seed” mean. 

Rebbi Akiva holds that if she was infertile she will give birth. 

Rebbi Yishmael argues that this cannot be. His reasoning: If infertile women would give birth then they would deceitfully provoke their husbands to warn them not to seclude themselves (with another man) in order to bring on herself the laws of Sotah.   When she will be found innocent she will then bear children!   

Therefore, argues Rebbi Yishmael, “and she will bear seed” means that if she had difficult births she will now have easy ones… if she gave birth to short children she will give birth to tall ones etc. 

Tosfos asks that Rebbi Yishmael seemingly can ask the same question that he asks on Rebbi Akiva on himself: A woman who has difficult births will deceitfully provoke her husband to warn her not to seclude herself with a certain man…. When she will be found innocent she will then have easy births and tall children! How, then, can Rebbi Yishmael reject Rebbi Akiva’s position with a question that seems to be just as difficult on his own position?

Zera Shimshon quotes meforshim who explain that in the times of the Gemoro there was a big difference between a couple who was childless and a couple who had children because being childless was a valid reason for a divorce. According to this, these meforshim explain, Rebbi Yishmael held that a lady who had children but had difficult births would never attempt to do such a ploy because it could backfire! Her husband might opt to divorce her straight away and not have her go through the whole ritual. 
However, a childless lady has nothing to loss by going through with such a plan. If her husband really wanted to divorce her, since they are childless,  he can do it without this whole scheme. Since she has nothing to gain only to lose, Rebbi Yishmael held that the Torah would not allow such a ploy to happen and therefore he argued that “she will bear seed” does not mean to beget children but rather that she will have an easier birth. 

Zera Shimshon initially rejects this explanation because it is very unlikely that the plan of the lady with children will backfire. A husband will not divorce his wife on the far chance that she was unfaithful without being one hundred percent sure that this is really true. The reason for this is that if he does divorce her, then people will gossip and say there must be a good reason for the divorce and they will speak maliciously  about the lineage of her children (who are also HIS children). 

Zera Shimshon, however, eventually does uphold these meforshim’s explanation. True, if he divorces his wife, people might slander the lineage of his children and this is a strong reason not to divorce her. However, if he doesn’t immediately divorce her then she will suffer tremendous embarrassment going through the sotah ritual. A man would rather divorce his wife and risk slight slander of his children than making her go through the whole sotah ritual and embarrass her. 

This being so, concludes Zera Shimshon, we can understand why Rebbi Yishmael held that a childless lady could attempt a ploy in order to give birth but a lady with children wouldn’t do something like this in order to have easier childbirths! 
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Parshas Noso

(Based on Zera Shimshon Parshas Noso pg. 94-5)

But if the woman had not become defiled and she is innocent, she shall bear seed. (Bamidbar 5/28)

Basically the laws of Sotah are as follows:

A man warns his wife not to seclude herself with a certain man and she ignores the warning and secludes herself with that man in front of two witnesses. She must then bring a certain korbon and drink water in which the Name of Hashem was dissolved in it. If she was not faithful to her husband she swells from the water that she drank until she dies. However, if she was faithful to her husband and is innocent she will bear seed.

There are two opinions in the Gemorro exactly what does “and she will bear seed” mean.

Rebbi Akiva holds that if she was infertile she will give birth.

Rebbi Yishmael argues that this cannot be. If infertile women would be able to give birth like this they would deceitfully provoke their husbands to warn them not to seclude themselves (with another man) in order to bring on herself the laws of Sotah. When she would be found innocent she would be able to bear children. Therefore, argues Rebbi Yishmael, “and she will bear seed” means that if she had difficult births she will now have easy ones… if she gave birth to short children she will give birth to tall ones etc.

Zera Shimshon asks, “How does Rebbi Akiva refute Rebbi Yishmael’s argument of Rebbi Yishmael? Why wouldn’t any misfortunate infertile woman not carry out this scheme?

Zera Shimshon explains that the machlokos between Rebbi Akiva and Rebbi Yishmael is based on a different machlokos between them if a husband is obligated (chaiyav) to warn his wife if he suspects infidelity or if he is permitted to warn her (reshus) but there is no obligation. Rebbi Akiva holds that he is obligated and Rebbi Yishmael that he is permitted but there is no obligation.

According to this, reasons Zera Shimshon, we can understand why Rebbi Akiva isn’t bothered by Rebbi Yishmael’s question. According to Rebbi Akiva this woman deliberately planned a concocted scheme and caused Hashem name to be erased for no reason. Her husband isn’t responsible- he had no choice but to warn her. The whole reason that Hashem commanded her to drink the water and to erase H.s name is in order to determine the truth. Therefore it makes no sense that the Torah will let her benefit from her fabricated dishonest scheme. Therefore the water will not cause her to conceive! Since the misfortunate childless lady will not benefit from such a scheme we are not worried that she will carry it out.

Rebbi Yishmael, on the other hand, holds that since the husband doesn’t have to warn her, if he does it is in order to determine the truth; was his wife unfaithful or not. Therefore according to him, if the meaning of “and she will bear seed” would be that childless women will conceive then the water will have the ability to cause her to conceive.

This d’var Torah is dedicated to Beracha Bas Menucha Shaina. In the merit of  the  learning Zera Shimshon’s divrai Torah, Hashem should answer her prayers and she should quickly find her proper match along with all the other members of Clal Yisroel who are also looking for their zivug hagun

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