TalmuDigest

For the week ending 31 May 2008 / 26 Iyyar 5768

Sotah 9 - 15

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

  • Poetic justice for the guilty sotah
  • The timing of Heavenly retribution
  • The primeval serpent and other victims of their own envy
  • All about Shimshon
  • The eishel of the Patriarch Avraham
  • The courageous confession of Yehuda
  • David and his son Avshalom
  • The decrees of Pharaoh and the birth of Moshe
  • The discovery of Moshe's crib and the aftermath
  • The funeral of the Patriarch Yaakov
  • Moshe and the casket of Yosef
  • Moshe's last day in this world and his burial
  • The importance of doing acts of lovingkindness
  • The mincha flour offering of the sotah, its ingredients, its ritual and its consumption
  • Preparation of the bitter water for the sotah to drink

The Impact of Mother's Milk

  • Sotah 12b

When the infant Moshe was discovered among the river's reeds by the daughter of Pharaoh, an attempt was made to find an Egyptian woman to nurse him. Our Sages explain the refusal of Moshe to be nursed by them as Heavenly intervention "for how could the mouth which was destined to speak with G-d be fed with something impure!" (The Egyptian women ate foods that were spiritually impure and the child they nursed would be nourished by those foods. — Rashi)

The question arises as to why this reason was specifically given in regard to Moshe when all Jews are advised to refrain from having a non-Jew nurse their child if a Jewish nurse is available (Rama in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh De’ah 81:7).

The answer offered by Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Chayos is that the rule of all Jews only applied after the Torah was received and many of the foods consumed by other nations became forbidden to Jews. Since this reason did not apply to the infant Moshe it was necessary to provide a different explanation for his refusal to be nursed by an Egyptian woman.

Just as mother's milk can have a negative effect it can also have a positive one as in the case of the Roman Emperor Antoninus who had such a special relationship with Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi (Rebbie) as a result of momentarily being nursed by his mother.

What the Sages Say

"Whoever covets what belongs to another will not only fail to get it but will even suffer the loss of whatever he has."

  • Beraita - Sotah 9a

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