In this week’s Parsha there are two very famous situations of Halacha, or Torah Law, written right next to each other. These are that of the Sotah, or wife who is suspected of having strayed; and that of the Nazir, or someone who, for the sake of Hashem, takes an oath against consumption of wine amongst other things.
Rashi explains- why is it that the Torah places these two Laws next to each other? To teach us that if someone sees a woman going through the process of being shown to be a wayward wife, he should respond by accepting upon himself the oath of ‘nazir’ in order to refrain from wine which leads to immorality.
Someone who sees a wayward woman receive her punishment, and beholds her being degraded for having strayed in her marriage, is MOST inoculated against immorality! Why would this person have to then accept upon himself abstinence from wine?
Other people, who have not seen the terrible repercussions of immorality should have to refrain from wine! This person, however, has seen firsthand the severe consequences of illicit behavior, and he would seemingly be more protected from committing the same himself! Why then does he need to accept this extra stringency?
Since this person has seen firsthand the repercussions of immoral behavior, he most understands the dangers of immorality. This person would therefore also have a heightened sensitivity to behaviors and actions that lead to immorality. Therefore, when he drinks wine, it has a different meaning than it does to other people.
Being that the imprint of the evils of illicit relationships is MOST imprinted on his conscience, and being that wine can lead someone to this transgression, wine therefore has much more heightened meaning to him. When he drinks wine he is now more of a step closer to immorality than a regular person.
Due to the difference of perception of different people, certain behaviors can be much more dangerous for some people rather than others.
In example- someone who has a heightened awareness of the dangers of climbing a high building will be more likely to fall off than someone else who is oblivious to the danger. The fear of the consequences themselves often are the cause for someone falling into them.
It is so important in life to be very real and personally attuned. There is no such thing as “but someone else does this”, everyone is different and different things carry different meaning and significance to different people. We need to be honest with ourselves about what it is that these actions do to us personally, despite them not being so harmful to those around us.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos!
Rabbi Eli Meir Kramer