|Pondering the Pasuk: Nasso: Bittersweet Water|
|Written by Heshie HaGibbor|
The Sotah is woman whose husband is jealous and suspicious of his wife, and she has given him reason to feel that way. He brings her to the Kohein, who gives her the bitter waters to drink. The name of Hashem is
written on parchment and erased into these waters.
The pasuk says,
“V’lakach haKohein mayim kedoshim b’chli cheres, u’min he-afar asher yihiye b’karka haMishkan yikach haKohein, v’nasan el hamayim –
The Kohein shall take sacred water in an earthenware vessel and the Kohein shall take from the earth that is on the floor of the Tabernacle and put it in the water (Numbers 5:17).
The word used to describe the earth that that Kohein takes from the floor of the Mishkan is “asher yihiye b’karka haMishkan”, which is commonly translated as “that is on the floor of the Tabernacle.”
The Torah could have simply said, “u’min he-afar asher b’karka haMishkan” – which means “and from the earth that is on the floor of the Mishkan” without the word yihiye.
The word yihiye is extra. What does it tell us?
The word yihiye is in the future tense – that will be.
The pasuk says, “V’lakach haKohein mayim kedoshim b’chli cheres, u’min he-afar asher yihiye b’karka haMishkan yikach haKohein, v’nasan el hamayim –
The Kohein shall take sacred water in an earthenware vessel and the Kohein shall take from the earth that will be on the floor of the Tabernacle and put it in the water.
One would think that the earth was already there. Why “from the earth that will be on the floor of the Tabernacle”?
The ingredients of the water that the Soteh drinks are: earth, holy water and the Sheim Hashem (the name of God). Does this sound familiar?
When Hashem created Adam, He took earth and water, and He breathed into that mix the breath of life, ie – the Spirit of God (Genesis 2:6-8).
The earth from the floor of the Mishkan that the Kohein takes for the water that he gives to the Soteh to drink, is not the usual earth that is found there. This is special earth that Hashem places there, for this particular purpose. Why? Because if the Soteh is found to be innocent, then she will bear a child. So the potential for the child being born is placed in the bitter waters that she drinks – earth, water and the sheim Hashem (name of God). The same mix that that was used to create Adam haRishon – the first man.
And since, after she drinks, this special human potential is now inside her body, if she was unfaithful, then there is a major spiritual conflict inside her. This holy mixture cannot coexist with seed from another man, seed that is defiled, unclean. So if she sinned with another man, then she will die a horrible death as described in the text.
If, on the other hand, she was faithful to her husband and she is pure, then this holy mixture will be used for its intended purpose – to create a human being. And she will be blessed with a child because she now has the heavenly ingredients within her to bear a child and the special blessing of Hashem to go with it.
Just as by Marah, when Moshe Rabbeinu threw bitter wood into bitter water and the water turned sweet (Exodus 15:25), here, too, for the woman who is pure, the bitter water turns sweet for her as she now bears a child.
Copyright © 2010 – Heshie Klein, MD