The Ba'al Shem Tov famously taught: "Every single thing that a person sees or hears, is an instruction to him in his conduct in the service of G‑d."
Instead of having G-d talk to us directly every time He wants to to teach us something, He allows us to learn it when we observe our surroundings and draw lessons from what we see. It's a subtle way of encouraging us to grow in our service of G-d - without the drawback of being overbearing on us. He wants us to connect to Him, not because He forces us, but because we want to.
In this week's parsha, we see the very same theme of learning from what we see. Let's take a look (Numbers 5:11-13, 6:1-3):
The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: Should any man's wife go astray and deal treacherously with him, and a man lie with her carnally, but it was hidden from her husband's eyes, but she was secluded [with the suspected adulterer] and there was no witness against her, and she was not seized...
The L-rd spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the children of Israel, and you shall say to them: A man or woman who sets himself apart by making a nazirite vow to abstain for the sake of the L-rd. He shall abstain from new wine and aged wine; he shall not drink [even] vinegar made from new wine or aged wine, nor shall he drink anything in which grapes have been steeped, and he shall eat neither fresh grapes nor dried ones...
This is how the Torah sets it up. First, it discusses the case of an adulterous wife (in Hebrew: "sotah"), and delineates the procedure with which the husband could test her guilt. Then the Torah turns to a different topic - that of the nazir (one who undertook an oath to abstain from grape products and becoming impure through contact with the dead).
What's the connection? Why talk about the sotah, then about the nazir?
Why is the section dealing with the nazirite juxtaposed to the section of the adulterous woman? To tell us that whoever sees an adulteress in her disgrace should vow to abstain from wine, for it leads to adultery.
Now you know why. By just observing all the drama that would surround a potentially adulterous woman, a person would (or should!) be inspired to do better. He would want to stay far away from such a situation, and if that meant abstaining from wine, so be it.
So this is a lesson for us all. By observing what happens around us, we can draw inspiration for ourselves. We don't need to shlep ourselves all the way to the synagogue and sit through a rabbi's sermon to learn how to serve G-d; we can learn by just opening our eyes and looking at what is in front of us!
All this, of course, depends on one thing: whether you are ready to learn or not.
So, nu, are you ready?
Write your thoughts in the comment area below. And watch the video for an example of this concept in our daily lives!