פ’ תזריע-מצורע תשע”ח
Volume 23, Issue 6
INSIGHTS from the SEDRA
Insights from the Sedra is a project of the Scholars’ 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.
אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר
“When a woman conceives, and gives birth to a male.” (12:2)
QUESTION: It would have been sufficient to omit the reference to conception and say “If a woman gives birth to a male”?
ANSWER: The first letters of the words “כי תזריע וילדה זכר” spell the word “zechut” – זכות – merit. The woman is known as the “akarat habayit” – “foundation of the home” – while the husband is usually away from the home involved in earning a livelihood. The mother actually spends more time in raising the child and has the opportunity to instill within him a love for Torah and mitzvot, and thus properly formulate his character. The Torah is thus alluding that a child’s righteousness is in the zechut of his devoted and dedicated mother. (Chida)
וראה הכהן…והנה לא הפך הנגע את עינו…טמא הוא
“And the Kohen shall see…the plague has not changed its appearance…it is contaminated.”(13:55)
QUESTION: The word “ayin” usually means “eye”. Since the meaning here is “appearance”, it should say “marito” – “its appearance”?
ANSWER: Being afflicted with bodily scars is not the punishment. It is hoped that when a person sees unusual bodily changes, he will reflect on his conduct, repent, and improve his ways.
The words “נגע” (plague) and “ענג” (delight) are spelled with the same three letters. The only difference is that in one the “ע” is at the beginning, and in the other it is at the end. When a person does teshuvah following affliction with leprosy, his נגע becomes an ענג. Many times in life, depending on how you see things, can determine if an event that occurs is a negah or an oneg. (Videbarta Bam)
וכי יטהר…וספר לו…לפני ה’ מזובו
“And when he is cleansed…then he shall number to himself…before G-d for his issue…” (15:13-15)
QUESTION: What is the connection between these two verses and the 49 days of the Omer?
ANSWER: When the Jews were in Egypt, they sunk into the 49th level of impurity. Upon leaving Egypt, they began to elevate themselves. Between Pesach and Shavuot they were cleansed of all impurity and were worthy of receiving the Torah.
In these verses there are 49 words, which may be a hint to the 49 days of Sefirah, during which the Jewish people elevate themselves. The Torah is teaching that “Vechi yithar” – the way to accomplish purification and spiritual elevation – is through “vesafar” – “counting” Sefirah. The words “vesafar” or “usefartem” derive from the root word of “sapir” – brilliance and brightness. During Sefirah one is to refine each day of the seven emotion-traits (middot) and each attribute contains elements of the other seven, a combination of 49 in total.
The 29th day of Sefirah is Pesach Sheini, and the 29th word of these verses is Hashem. The reason for this is that when the Jews were impure and unable to offer the Korban Pesach, they came to Moshe and asked him what they could do. Moshe’s reply was: “Imdu ve’eshme’ah mah yetzaveh Hashem” – “Wait, so that I may hear what Hashem will command,” and then Hashem told Moshe about Pesach Sheini. The 33rd word in these verses is “Moed” which means “holiday”, alluding to the 33rd day of Sefirah, Lag Ba’Omer. (R’ Gershon Henoch of Radin)
ורחץ במים את כל בשרו
“He shall bathe his entire flesh in water.” (15:16)
QUESTION: 1) Since it says “he shall bathe his entire flesh”, the word “bamayim” – “in water” is superfluous? 2) The Gemara (Eruvin 4b) explains that this refers to a mikveh of at least 40 se’ah of water (approx. 120 gal.) Chazal derive this figure by estimating the amount of water needed to cover the entire body. Is there any Biblical support for this figure?
ANSWER: A hint in the Torah for the 40 se’ah of a mikveh occurs in this verse: “Verachatz” – “he shall immerse” – “bamayim – במים – can be a juxtaposition of “bemei mem,” – במי – מ – in the waters consisting of 40 (se’ah).” (Yalkut Yitzchak)
According to an interpretation of the Kesef Mishneh (Avot HaTumah 7:16), a person who immerses in a mikveh becomes pure when he first emerges from the water and not while he is actually immersed. This ruling may reflect the spiritual correspondence between immersing in a mikveh and birth for a child is considered born when his forehead emerges from his mother’s womb. (Pardes Yosef)
Every person has a pure neshama at birth. Afterwards he may do things which defile his soul. Immersion in the mikveh is a form of rebirth and through it he reverts to his original state of purity. The Shelah Hakodesh writes: “When one immerses in the mikveh, he should recite the pasuk ‘Leiv tahor berah li Elokim’ – ‘A pure heart create for me O G-d’ (Psalms 51:12), because through immersion he becomes a newly created person. Also, the first letters of the words טהור ברא לי – ‘pure create for me’ – spell out the word ‘taval’ – (טבל) – to immerse.’” (Sha’ar Ha’otiot)
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