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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Why is G-D Showing me This Picture?

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

The Baal Shem Tov once said: If a person, going about their business, encounters something ugly like corruption or violence, he or she should stop and think. Why is G-d showing me this picture?

There must be a reason. The scene before us is a mirror, which reflects an aspect of our own image. G-d knows that we are incapable of seeing ugliness in ourselves, so He shows it to us in someone else. Upon witnessing a hideous act we should turn inward, says the Besht, and see if we are guilty of even a fraction of that which we are seeing.

Parshas Naso is the longest Parsha in the Torah. It has 176 verses, the same as the number of verses in the longest chapter in Tehilim Psalm 119, the same as the number of pages in Bava Basra, which is the largest tractate of the Talmud.

There are two major Mitzvos in this Parsha: Sotah, the story of the promiscuous women, and Nazir, the man who restricts himself from worldly pleasures. The Talmud questions the juxtaposition of these two mitzvos and comments, If you are unfortunate enough to see an act of promiscuity, go home and figure out what you can do to make your own life more holy.

These days we are witnessing insidious, treacherous acts of terrorism that are being done to men, women and children across the world. It seems that in some circles there is a total negation of the value of human life.

How should we react to the desecration of life? If when one sees a Sotah one becomes a Nazir, what should one become when seeing a terrorist?

The answer is a kinder and gentler people. If you are driving on the highway and you hear about a terrorist bomb the Jewish reaction should be to let another car sneak in front of us. If we hear of a shooting the Jewish reaction should be to pick up the phone and say something nice about another person. Visit someone who is sick, help someone who is poor, value a life, be more Jewish!

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