These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

נשא, naso

Posted on June 3, 2011 by Avi Strausberg

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well, the good news is, she survived the ritual ordeal of the housewife gone astray.  the bad news is, well, where do we go from here?  parshat naso describes in detail the disturbing process of how a husband, suspecting his wife of infelidity or overcome by jealousy may bring his wife to trial.  and, this is no ordinary trial.  for one, the woman is made to stand with her hair disheveled, in front of God, in front of the whole community, while the husband accuses her of adultery.  the ministering priest then pronounces and inscribes the curse that will befall the woman if proven guilty upon a piece of paper.  this paper is then rubbed off into the bitter waters which the woman is made to drink before the people.

then, we wait and see what happens.  if her belly distends and her thighs sag, the waters have revealed her sin and the woman becomes a curse among her people.  and if miraculously her body remains unharmed, well, no worries here, husband and wife can happily return home, vows renewed and fertility increased.

or, perhaps the clean bill of fidelity is not such a happy ending.  unfortunately, these betrayals in relationships are altogether common.  and that betrayal can be either one partner cheating on the other or a jealousy and distrust so great that it destroys the relationship.  for the most part, when we get a window into the lives of others, we just see and hear about the dramatic big act in which the betrayal is revealed.  but what we don’t see is all of the days, the conversations, the silences, that follow that decision.  we don’t witness what happens behind closed doors when the intimacy and trust that bound two people together breaks down in an act of betrayal.

silence in the car.
can we recover from this?
home comes into view.

may we find healthier ways of communicating with our partners than those presented here,