Friday, May 25, 2007

Taboo


In this weeks Parsha we find an amazing insight into the human psyche.

The Parsha of Sotah (the adulterous wife) is followed by the Parsha of Nazir. Chazal tell us that whoever sees a "sotah b'kilkula" an adulterer when she's down, should immediately forsake drinking wine or any other behavior that can lead down that path.

The obvious question is..isn't seeing her and her greusome punishment deterrent enough for that?

The answer is quite clear.

The gemara in Yomah says there are 2 types of confessions. One is public and the second is private, between man and God.
Only sins Bein Odom L'chaveiro, where one has to ask for forgivenes from a fellow person are to be confessed in this manner.

One of the greatest barriers around a sin is the element of Taboo. "It's just not done". The moment you hear of an instance where it is in fact "done" this invisible barrier falls away and it becomes more difficult to resist temptation.

The Internet has become somewhat of a large virtual confessional. While it might thrill the voyeur hiding inside of us, the damage it causes is tremendous. Between blogs and a website that will go unnamed the taboo once surrounding the most taboolike sins are crumbling.
People are mistaken when they think that if they tell you.."I did it..and let me tell you..Its not worth it.." they're doing us a favor and deterring others. The Torah tells us that the opposite is true.
Even if one witnesses a Sotah crying and pleading for forgiveness and then witnessing her horrible fate, it still makes it easier for the next person to sin!

I once heard an incredible story from a very good source (otherwise I would not repeat it).
Rav Shalom Shvadron Zt'l once came into Rav Shloma Zalman Aurbach Zt'ls house in a huff. This scandalous story happened in Yerushalayim, where a man was caught with the woman next door (and they werent saying tehillim)..
"What should we do..?"..etc..
Rav Shloma Zalman looked at him and said "Vuss iz?..ihr zent eim mekaneh?"
Translated:" What's the matter?..You're jealous?"
Rav Shalom started crying....

No matter how great we are..we are still all stuck in human bodies...and are subject to the frailties of the human psyche.
No one understands this better than the Torah.

.

12 Comments:

Blogger Shoshana said...

Wow, beautiful vort and all too true. Seeing something that is taboo having been done legitimizes it and makes us identify with it all the more.

May 25, 2007 2:26 PM  
Blogger The Dreamer said...

david - your posts almost always lead me to some soul searching.

Thanks you.

May 25, 2007 2:42 PM  
Blogger skepticbentorah said...

this is so true and so beautiful

i just cant help to add the seemingly obvious fact, that in no place does the toireh say that one should not look at a sotah bekilkulah. actualy on the contrary there are many instances in the toireh where we are told to publicly display the bodies of the sinners so that everyone shall see. i find this to be interperated as follows; yes the element of taboo is a great barrier around a sin. but god wants us to choose "hineni noisein lefonecha es hatov v'es harah hachaim vehamaves u'bachartah bchaim"(here i place before you the good and the bad, life and death and u shall choose life) choice is only in a circumstance where there is two options. of course when the two options become equally plausible then the choice must show real strength of heart and mind , and yes the toireh does tell us "yazir atzmoi min hayayin" its going to be hard but dont despair....

May 25, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

that is why it says in gemara that when a person repeats a sin the person starts feeling that it is allowed
wow i find it hard to believe that he actualy asked if he is jealous

May 25, 2007 3:35 PM  
Blogger chav said...

wow.

never heard that story.

powerful stuff.

May 25, 2007 4:36 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

shoshana...
Thanks. Thats exactly what happens..

Dreamer...
We can all use some of that every once in awhile....

SBT...
Thanks..
I'm pretty sure that the sotah ceremony took place in the Beis Hamikdash..not exactly Town Sq.
Its true that we have free choice..but that doesnt mean we cant give the good side an edge.

yy..
Thats very true..

Chav...
Of course not. You'd never find that published..

May 26, 2007 10:34 PM  
Blogger jewmaican20 said...

That's a very interesting observation, David, and it rings with a lot of truth...
Sadly, I think I know which website you're referring to...

May 27, 2007 1:09 AM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

great post.. as usual :)
i completely agree with what youre saying, the taboo does act as a protection and when we take down all the secrecy/shame around sinning it becomes that much more acceptable, but like skeptic said - the sotah ssituation is public, so obviously there is a lesson to be learned in that too. we arent meant to completely be in the dark about these things. i think the fact that the nazir bit comes right after, and the bit about it taking place in the bet hamikdash is to let us know that we shouldnt sweep everything under the carpet, and that we should be aware and we should deal with what is going on - but in the right setting, and that even if it is permissible or even sometimes necessary to know/witness these things, it doesnt mean it wont harm us.
i think the right poeple, in the right setting, at the right time should be fully aware of these problems, but they should also take whatever extra precautions they need to avoid getting desensitized.
the problem, as ure saying, is that its now all out there, for everyone to gawk at- those who can handle it and those who really shouldnt be handling it.

May 27, 2007 11:54 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

jewmaican..
Thanks..
I hope we're referring to the same one. I wouldnt want there to be more than one.

M00kie...
Very good comment.
Thats true everything must be dealt with..but the need to deal shouldnt be driven by a need to hear.

May 27, 2007 9:13 PM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Very nice stuff, love the connections.

May 27, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger chana said...

omg that was sharp

gud on you for this one

you say it like it is, but by doing so you're helping people build, not chip away at the barriers to the unthinkable...

G-d Bless you

May 28, 2007 1:02 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

swfm...
Thanks

Chana...
Amen!

May 28, 2007 10:01 AM  

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