Being friendly is important, but being overly friendly is sometimes ill-unadvised.
By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel
This week’s Torah portion in Israel, “Emor” (Leviticus 21:1-24:23), ends with the infamous and mysterious incident of “the blasphemer.”
To make a long story short: two people get into a fight. One of them is a full-fledged Jew while the other is the son of a Jewish mother and Egyptian father. The “half-Jew” pronounces the Name of God in a blasphemous manner. He is sentenced to death and the story pretty much ends there.
Who was this man?
We are told it was the son of “Shlomit, the daughter of Divri”, from the Tribe of Dan.
The commentators say that the condemned man’s mother is specifically mentioned to tell us that she was the only “promiscuous” Jewish woman during the period of slavery in Egypt.
As the story goes, an Egyptian taskmaster set his eyes upon Shlomit and desired her. As a result, he summoned her husband to work early one morning while it was still dark outside. When the husband left the house, the Egyptian climbed into Shlomit’s bed and had relations with her. Shlomit thought that it was her husband.
The result of this unfortunate incident was the birth of the blasphemer mentioned above.
But the question is asked: Why is Shlomit called a “promiscuous woman”? This unfortunate event wasn’t her fault. She had no idea at the time that she was being raped!
It is explained that her name reveals her fault. The word “Shlomit” is related to “Shalom” the word used to greet others. It seems that Shlomit was a bit too friendly.
In fact, we are told that her real name was not actually Shlomit, but Torah calls her this because of her over-friendliness.
The same is true regarding her father’s name. Apparently, Divri was was not her father’s true name; rather this name was tacked onto her new nickname. “Divri” means “talkative,” emphasizing that Shlomit was too talkative with too many people.
While we would think that friendliness is praiseworthy, too much of anything is not good.
Shlomit the daughter of Divri’s super social skills got her too much attention which led to the incident with the Egyptian.
Being friendly is important, but being overly friendly, especially if you are a married woman, is unadvised. Shlomit was the model socialite who would mix and mingle wherever possible and in all crowds. A woman should be a little more modest than that.
Although the episode of the Egyptian was not totally her fault, she wasn’t innocent either. She overstepped lines, that if she hadn’t, she may not have found herself raped.
Even good qualities and character traits have their limitations!
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