פ’ תזריע-מצורע תשע”ז
Volume 18, Issue 5
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholar’s Kollel of Great Neck. It aims to provide several questions and answers about the Sedra, culled from various commentaries, including the following: Baal Haturim, Darash Moshe, Vedebarta Bam by Rabbi Moshe Bogomilsky, Torah Treasures by Dov Furer, Wellsprings of Torah by Alexander Friedman, and Kol Dodi by Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Great Torah Lights by Rabbi Yitzchak Meir Goodman, Something To Say by Dov Wasserman, The Vilna Gaon, and Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin.
וביום השמיני ימול בשר ערלתו
“On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised…” (12:3)
QUESTION: At a brit milah it is customary for all present to proclaim: “Just as he is entered into the covenant, so may he enter into Torah, into marriage and into good deeds.” Why do we associate these three things with the brit milah?
ANSWER: The circumcision done at a brit milah is permanent. Once it is performed, it cannot be changed in any way. Those present at the brit milah express a threefold blessing and prayer for the child. First, as the brit milah is of everlasting nature, likewise his connection to Torah should be everlasting. Second, the person he marries should be his companion for life. The third and concluding blessing is that throughout his lifetime he should constantly perform good deeds.
Alternatively, the first mitzvah in which the child is involved is brit milah. Due to his young age, his parents must take an active role in planning and preparing for the brit milah. When it comes to Yiddishkeit, many parents have a tendency to say, “When our child becomes older, he will make his own decisions.” Therefore, all present at the brit milah call to the attention of the parents: “Kesheim she’nichnas labrit” – just as at the brit milah the parents were actively involved – “kein yikaneis leTorah ul’chupah ul’ma’asim tovim” – so too, when the son reaches the age of Torah study, marriage and good deeds, the parents should be actively involved in all of his decisions. (Vedebarta Bam)
ואיש או אשה כי יהיה בו נגע בראש
“If a man or a woman has a lesion on the head…” (13:29)
The eruption of tzara’at on the head is caused by self-pride and arrogance, as opposed to tzara’at elsewhere in the body, which is the result of gossip or slander. The reason for this difference is that gossip and slander are superficial misdeeds, which therefore affect the skin elsewhere on the body. Pride and arrogance, in contrast, are warped mental attitudes that affect the head. We should continuously strive to eliminate these character imperfections. (Likutei Sichot)
“And then he shall shave himself…” (13:33)
QUESTION: Why is the word written with a large “ג”?
ANSWER: Except in a leap year, Parshat Tazria is read after Pesach during the Sefirah, the period when it is forbidden to take haircuts or shave. Precluded from this prohibition are the 33rd day of the Omer counting (Lag Ba’Omer) and the three days before Shavuot (Shloshet Yimei Hagbalah).
According to the Arizal, one should take a haircut only on Erev Shavuot and not on any other day during Sefirah.
The word “vehitgalach” – “And then he shall shave himself” – is the beginning of the 33rd verse in chapter 13 of Chumash Vayikra. This alludes to the fact that on the 33rd day it is permitted to take a haircut. The large “ג” indicates that it is permitted to take a haircut three days before Shavuot.
The word “vehitgalach” (והתגלח) numerically adds up to 452, which is the same numerical value as ל’ג ימים בעומר – “33 days of the Omer – (counting the statement itself as an additional one, known in gematria as “im hakollel”). In Hebrew numbers, 452 is תב”נ, which is an acronym for the words “תסתפר בערב נון” – “Take a haircut the day before the 50th – Erev Shavuot.” (Pardes Yosef)
The Gerrer Rebbe, Rav Yehudah Areh Leib Alter zt”l (Sfas Emes) would say: “When Adam HaRishon was created, the ethereal light of Hashem (אור) shone directly into his body. Then he sinned and his skin (עור) covered up this special light. Human skin has pores, though, which allow the light to penetrate through and guide us; but when we sin, an affliction (נגע) covers over the pores and blocks the light from filtering through. After the metzorah does teshuvah and is healed, he is allowed to return to his family and then the נגע is transformed into an ענג – a delight and celebration due to his happiness, and the צרעת is transformed into an עצרת – a holiday of sorts for the person who is healed, as well for his family.”
This week’s Divrei Torah are sponsored in honor of the birth of Tzappora Raizel, born to Stephanie & Craig Basman by the proud grandparents Sydelle & Robert Knepper and Michelle & Dr. Neville Basman. For future sponsorship opportunities please call Steve Zuckerman at 516 652 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Lichter at email@example.com. Sponsorships in memory of or in honor of someone are $50.00 per issue.