ט״ז במרחשון ה׳תשע״ו (October 29, 2015)

Sota 3a-b: Like a Worm in the Sesame

Our Gemara brings a number of statements in the name of Rav Ḥisda, whose origins are found in the halakha of a :

  1. “Adulterous behavior in the home is like a worm in the sesame,” i.e. just as the worm destroys the sesame, adultery destroys the fabric of the family.
  2. “Anger in the home is like a worm in the sesame.”
  3. Before the Jewish People sinned, the heavenly presence was manifest in every person, as the Torah teaches (Devarim 23:15) that God walks in the camp; once the Jewish People sinned, God’s presence was removed, as that pasuk concludes, that no promiscuity should be shown, or He will leave you.

According to most of the commentaries, the third statement quoted in the name of Rav Ḥisda is a continuation of his first two observations. As long as a married couple behaves appropriately, God’s presence resides among them. Should they begin to behave inappropriately, His presence will leave them. The Maharsha suggests that this idea is similar to one that appears later on in Massekhet Sota (17a), that a husband and wife – ish ve-ishah – who are worthy will find God’s holy presence among them (the words “ish ve-ishah” include the letters of God’s name – yod and heh). If, they sin, however, God’s presence departs and we are left with destruction (without the letters yod and heh, the words ish ve-ishah become esh – fire).

The Maharal suggests that God’s blessing rests on a home that is built on the correct values and ideals. Should the couple destroy the natural order by illicit sexual behavior that is driven by lust or anger, God cannot reside in a place that is built on such inappropriate values. The Me’iri suggests simply that ordinarily a person receives Godly attention – hashgaha peratit – in this world, unless his sin causes God’s presence to leave him, in which case he will be left to the vicissitudes of the forces of nature.

Previous
Next