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This week's Torah reading

Naso

The Torah assigns the exact Mishkan-related tasks to be performed by the sons of Gershon, Kehat and Merari, the Beney Levi. A census reveals that over 8,000 men are ready for such service. All those who are ritually impure are to be sent out of the encampments. If a person confesses that he wrongfully retained his neighbour's property after having sworn to the contrary in court, he has to pay an additional fifth of the base-price of the object, and bring a guilt offering to atone for his transgression. In the event that the claimant has already passed away without heirs, the payments are made to a Kohen. In certain circumstances, a husband who suspects that his wife had been unfaithful brings his wife, a Sotah, to a Kohen. The Kohen prepares a drink of water mixed with a certain dust and a special ink that was used for inscribing HaShem's Name on a piece of parchment. If she is indeed innocent, the potion does not harm her -- in fact it brings a blessing of children. However, if she is guilty, she suffers a supernatural death.


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