Sunday, March 23, 2008

Nazir 2: Peleh and aleph

The Gemara states that one who witnesses a Sota while she is being debased should refrain from wine. The simple explanation of this statement is that when one observes an act of depravity, he should take caution and desist from any act that could lead one to become frivolous. On a deeper level, however, it is said (Bamidbar 6:2) dabeir el binei yisroel viamarta aleihem ish oh isha ki yafli lindor neder nazir lihazir laHaShem, speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: a man or woman who shall disassociate himself by taking a Nazarite vow of abstinence for the sake of HaShem.

The Ibn Ezra writes that the word yafli is derived from the word peleh¸ meaning wonder, as a Nazir is truly wondrous. This is because most people choose to pursue their desires of materialism and a Nazir distances himself from these desires. It is noteworthy that the word peleh contains the same letters as the word aleph, which means to teach. Thus, when one witnesses the debasement of the Sota, he should use it as a teaching for himself. Every incident that occurs in ones life should be used as a teaching to strive higher in the service of HaShem.

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