OPINION & COMMENT
The Jewish year is an ever-fascinating interaction between
the recurring holy days with their universal themes that
speak to us across the millennia and all of the varied and
variable elements of our communal and individual lives. Each
year we take what we have gained and lost, what we have
earned and learned, and approach Sinai once again to receive
the Torah and rededicate ourselves and our lives to the word
A Shmuess for Parshas Nosso
The Nozir From the South
`Speak to bnei Yisroel . . . ish oh ishoh ki yafli, a man or woman who separates [themselves -- wondrously -- from worldly pleasures], to make a vow to become a nozir, to be set apart for Hashem's sake' (Bamidbor 6:2).
Korbon Shtei HaLechem on
"You shall observe the festival of weeks, the first fruits of the wheat harvest" (Shemos 34:22). Rashi writes that "the first fruits of the wheat harvest" means the time "when you bring the shtei halechem" (the "two loaves of bread" -- a meal-offering of two loaves made of fine wheat flour brought on Shavuos, see Vayikro 23:16-17).
The manner of the sotah's punishment as described in this week's portion is most remarkable. Nowhere else in the Torah do we find this kind of retribution for sins, a penalty in which sacred waters are transformed into cursed waters, a punishment which is wholly miraculous.
The days of Sefirah are ending. We counted, day by day approaching the fiftieth day, which is chag Hashavuos.
The days of the Omer have a deep connection with the holiday of Shavuos, when Klal Yisroel received the Torah. As the Sefer Hachinuch explains, the counting of the Omer is a way of expressing our anticipation for the coming of the great day when Hashem will give us the Torah.
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