Parsha Naso

Don’t wait for the opportunity, create it!

The Gemara (Berakhot 63a) states, Rabbi Yochanan said "Why is the Parasha of Sotah near the Parasha of Terumot and Ma’asrot?" He answers, "It is in order to teach that one who has Terumot and Ma’asrot and does not give them to the Kohen, ultimately he will need to bring his wife to the Kohen (she became a sotah)."

Harav Yosef Hayim Zt”l asks, what does this man actually do with the ma’asrot? If he wants to keep it in order to get rid of it, this cant be the case because we are dealing with crazy people, and if  he eats it himself then it also doesn’t make sense because an Israelite who eats Terumot is punished in the hands of heaven and besides the fact that he is stealing and stealing is a grave sin as we know the Generation of the flood was wiped out because of stealing. So it is not logical that for such a grave sin he will get such a light punishment of just bringing his wife to a Kohen.

Rav Yosef Hayim concludes, that really the made is designating his produce to be given to a Kohen. However, he is not going after the Kohen, rather he awaits the Kohen to come to him. Therefore, he gets punished measure for measure that he will end up having to run after the Kohen since he made the Kohen come to him. This point is actually punctuated in the Gemarah since the Gemara said “He does not give the terumot to the Kohen” meaning he is not actively going to the Kohen to give but he is preparing it for the Kohen to come to him.

We also see this lesson from the letters ג  and ד the letter gimmel means to bestow or give while the letter dalet means destitute or poor and we see that the gimmel is facing the dalet to give to the poor and the dalet isn’t even facing the gimmel to represent that the giver should go after the poor and give charity don’t wait for the poor person to come to you. 

There are many stories we can bring from the Talmud that bring out this point, we will just bring one:

The Gemara recounts another incident related to charity. Mar Ukva had a pauper in his neighborhood, and Mar Ukva was accustomed every day to toss four dinars for him into the slot adjacent to the hinge of the door. One day the poor person said: I will go and see who is doing this service for me. That day Mar Ukva was delayed in the study hall, and his wife came with him to distribute the charity. 

When the people in the poor man’s house saw that someone was turning the door, the pauper went out after them to see who it was. Mar Ukva and his wife ran away from before him so that he would not determine their identity, and they entered a certain furnace whose fire was already raked over and tempered but was still burning. Mar Ukva’s legs were being singed, and his wife said to him: Raise your legs and set them on my legs, which are not burned. Understanding that only his wife was spared from burns, because she was more worthy, Mar Ukva became distraught. By way of explanation, she said to him: I am normally found inside the house, and when I give charity, my assistance is ready and immediate, insofar as I distribute actual food items. Since you distribute money, which is not as readily helpful, my aid is greater than yours.

The point is they didn’t wait for the opprotunity to give, rather they created the opprotunity by going to the pauper.

© 2017 by Shalom Magazine