Thursday, Feb 22, 2024

Yevamos 11: The Earthly Elements

This daf discusses some halachos of a sotah.

The Ohr Hachaim teaches a deep lesson about the sotah waters: “We have already discussed in Parshas Bereishis the ramifications of the word ‘Vayechulu’ from the Zohar Chodosh. There we find that the verse uses the word ‘vayechulu’ in the same sense as ‘ad kelos hanefesh—to the soul’s extremity,’ which really indicates yearning.

“The entire creation is always in motion, because everything is always yearning to connect to the spiritual reality. This is the purpose of the material world. Hashem wanted a ‘dirah batachtonim,’ a dwelling place among the lower beings, as we find in the Medrash. When Adam fell, this lowered the entire world and distanced Hashem from the land. He brought death into the world, but when we stood on Sinai, we nullified the Angel of Death. Sadly, we brought death back when we sinned, but Hashem commanded us to make a Mikdosh so there would be a sublime space for His Shechinah in the world nevertheless.

“A sotah acts in direct opposition to this purpose. She lowers the entire world and postpones the ultimate redemption. She defies the intent of the world, so the entire creation combats her. She must go to the Mikdosh, the holiest place in the world that alludes to how things will be in times to come. We take water and dirt and place them in a vessel. These are the two lowest foundations of the world. They avenge themselves against the woman who has rebelled against her husband and frustrated their purpose. Although she followed nature, she acted against the deeper character of the entire world. If she will not admit and accept her deserved divorce, bereft of normal benefits, the very elements will themselves destroy her” (Ohr Hachaim, Bamidbar 5:16).

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