Naso – Out of many, One

Marriage is such a Holy thing, but first you must find your soul mate. The Gemara in Sotah (2a) tells us that, “Finding your soul mate is as difficult as splitting the Yam Suf”, it’s odd that finding a wife is compared to splitting the sea since marriage is all about the importance of unity. Perhaps it is compared to this because when we arrived at the Yam Suf we were surrounded by danger on all sides, we thought this was the end but in truth it was just the beginning. The solution? Put our lives in the hands of Hashem and He took care of the rest. The Alshich, Rav Moshe ben Chaim lived in Tzfat in the 1500’s. He got married at the age of fourteen, and he was an amazing tzaddik and talmid chacham even earlier than that. He would wake up every day at 3am and his wife would wake up and bring him a cup of tea each morning. She did her best not to disturb her husband’s precious learning and she would place the cup of tea near him not saying a word. Sadly, after three years of marriage the Alshichs wife passed away.

His mother felt terribly for him, he is only seventeen and already a widower. She would pray that he remarry quickly, but in the meantime the Alshich would wake up at 3am as usual but now his mother would bring him tea in the early morning. Yet after a few months his mother couldn’t do it anymore, she was too weak to wake up so early every day so she had the idea to hire the neighbor’s young daughter of sixteen to bring the Alshich tea from now on. She instructed her; “All you have to do is bring him the tea and put it near him on the table quietly, no need to disturb him.” And so, the neighbor’s daughter did. At about 4am the Alshich burst into his mother’s room, “Mother! Quickly, who brought me my tea this morning?!” “Why, the neighbor’s daughter did.” Without saying anything more the Alshich raced next-door, banging on the door. He asked to speak with the man’s daughter, and when she came to the door he asked her, “Why did you bring me two cups of tea this morning?” She looked surprised, “It seemed like the right thing to do… one cup for you and the other for the man you were learning with.” The Alshich almost fainted. “For three years my first wife brought me one cup of tea. For six months my mother brought me one cup of tea. But right away you saw that I was not learning alone, that I was indeed learning with Eliyahu Hanavi. So answer me fast, will you marry me?” For she was his soul mate, she saw his real holiness on every level.

Parshas Naso discusses a Sotah, a wife who is suspected of being unfaithful to her husband. The process for her to prove her innocence is long and difficult but if it comes down to it we make her drink the Sotah waters which contains a parchment with God’s name on it torn and put in the water. It’s crazy, imagine going to a torah and scraping off the name of God! We would never do that, but for the sake of unity, of a continued marriage in peace and harmony we will go as far as erasing the name of God. By allowing a Cohen to erase God’s name we see how much He values togetherness, the lengths we must go to create unity. In Maariv we say in “Hashkiveinu” “Ufros Aleinu Sukkas Shlomecha – bring us into Your shelter (sukkah) of peace”. Rav Avraham Yitzchak HaKohen Kook asks, what in the world does Sukkah have to do with peace? We learn in Gemara Sukkah that there are multitudes of ways to have a potentially kosher sukkah; four walls, two and a half walls, or we could utilize lavud and dofen akuma adding invisible walls or schach, just to make sure a sukkah could be Kosher. Rav Kook says, so too with peace. We have to strive to create peace, unity, and love, in any way that we can. Just like a Sukkah may be part here and part there, a little peace can connect many separate pieces together.  We just have to do our part.

Peace and love.

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