In one of the odder laws, this week’s Torah portion dedicates an entire section to what are known as the laws of “soteh” – an extensive process used to ascertain and hopefully dispel any suspicions of marital infidelity. Indeed, an entire Talmudic tractate, carrying the name Soteh, is dedicated to this subject!
These laws were considered not applicable already in the time of the second Temple. Which only begs the big question: What meaning and relevance does this chapter have to us today? We know that Torah comes from the world instruction (hora’ah) – with every word carrying personal directives. What can we possibly learn from the soteh?
In this week’s insight, the Baal Shem Tov offers us a beautiful and powerful interpretation. This novel explanation will demonstrate how the founder of Chassidus, in his inimitable way, illuminates for us several key psychological issues that we all struggle with, including: How to balance our spiritual cravings and our material ones? How to determine when our physical needs (originating from the “animal soul”) are healthy and when they are not? What are the features of a good mentor? What are our responsibilities to the less fortunate among us?
In this insight we will also discover that long before modern therapists, the Torah provides us with a proven method and criteria for finding a “soul doctor,” which can help us navigate our lives and find balance in an incongruous world.