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    Foolish & irrational – Naso

    There is a verse about adultery which says, “If a person’s wife goes astray” (Num. 5:12).

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe uses this as an example of the nature of sin. He says that sin is foolish, irrational, a going astray.

    It is not just that there is a superficial verbal link between sotah (one who goes astray) and sh’tut (stupidity).

    It is not just that the sages say that a person does not sin unless they are overtaken by a spirit of sh’tut.

    There is a psychological phenomenon at work here.

    Very rarely does a person deliberately sin. Very rarely do they sin as an act of defiance. In most cases the commission of sin is a silly moment in which their rational mind is not in control.

    One might say that one who sins is not a born sinner but someone who has been careless and become deflected from the right path.

    For Judaism, the Christian idea of Original Sin – an inborn taint deriving from Adam and Eve – is unthinkable, regardless of the fact that there were isolated Jewish opinions of this type.

    Sin happens, but most of the time it happens by mistake.

    Of course the person who has succumbed might well feel devastated: “What have I done? I’ve ruined myself! I’ll never get over it!”

    The Lubavitcher Rebbe says, “The person who has sinned… must not fall prey to melancholy or despair… And when he returns to God… he will rise to the love and fear of God. He will work towards true closeness… and the presence of the Divine is revealed in his soul.

    “This is his personal redemption, a preface to the collective redemption which is the Messianic Age.”

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