This year Parshas Naso is read prior to Shavuos, a rare occurrence.
In the last pasuk immediately preceding the laws of Sotah we are taught that a person may choose for himself which kohen to give terumos to; the kohen cannot forcibly take the terumos but rather I am to give it to him or any other kohen of my choice (Rashi 5:10). One of the laws of Sotah is that under certain circumstances a woman would be brought to the kohen for determination of her marital status. Rashi further explains (5:12) that the rule of being allowed to choose which kohen to give to is juxtaposed to the laws of Sotah because if one withholds from giving the terumos to a kohen – the person instead procrastinates or permanently keeps them separate, uneaten and ungiven – then ultimately he will have to face the kohen anyway by virtue of his wife having become a Sotah.
If someone has gone to the trouble of separating the terumos why wouldn’t he just go ahead and give it away to a kohen – what does he gain by holding on to it? How and why would failure to give terumos lead to marital difficulties?
The obvious answer is – control. Any fundraiser can attest to the fact that procrastination can be a form of controlling people and events. By deciding not to give the terumos even though they have been properly separated a person is asserting his own agenda into the process and showing that he will give when he wants to and on his own terms, not as a result of HKBH’s command. The most common issue in troubled marriages is control, as each spouse seeks to assert his/her agenda on the relationship. (It has been said that the best marriages grow past the need for control and instead each spouse seeks to anticipate the needs of the other; in a sense the spouses meld their interests and goals through the marriage.) Therefore the same person who has trouble letting go of his terumos will also likely have trouble in his relationship with his wife, leading to the kohen.
There are other kinds of gifts to be given in which the owner has absolutely no control over who the recipients will be. These gifts are leket, shikcha and peah – basically the grain left over on the field in the ordinary course of harvesting. For these the owner simply goes into his house and the poor can then collect; the owner has no control over the recipients. In Megilas Ruth (2:1,2) it is interesting that, even though Na’ami had powerful connections and presumably could have arranged for someone to provide for them, Ruth expressed her desire to collect leket in the fields. Perhaps Ruth did not want to put someone in a position of control over them by asking for help and instead opted for the ‘no-control’ option of leket. If so, it is also be interesting that this endeavor led her directly into her marriage with Boaz.
[This is based on shiurim of HoRav Yochanan Zweig, Shlita.]
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