areפ’ מצורע – שבת הגדול תשע”ט
Volume 28, 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, Growth Through Torah by Zelig Pliskin and The Call of the Torah.
והובא אל הכהן…ויצא הכהן
“He shall come to the Kohen…the Kohen shall go forth…”(14:2-3)
First the Torah says, “He shall come to the Kohen”, and then it immediately says the opposite, “the Kohen shall go forth.” This can be interpreted homiletically to teach us about giving mussar – moral and ethical instruction. When a man sins and repents like the metzorah who has been healed, he should know to go the teacher – the kohen – to learn how to act from then on. But the kohen should not wait for this to happen. The kohen should go out and teach the sinner how to repent. Often, this benefits the other person, who would otherwise lack the impetus to repent. Every teacher or person who can influence others must keep this in mind and do so. (Torah Gems)
Most people belittle the terrible sin of lashon hara. They explain it away with the claim that they merely said something, they didn’t do anything! Therefore, the Torah commands the metzorah to be brought before the kohen, who in turn, sets his fate with but one word, “clean” or “unclean”. As a result, everyone can recognize the power of the tongue…Death and life are in the hands of the tongue! (Mishlei 18:21) (Dubna Magid)
The metzorah is referred to in the Torah as He who is to cleans himself and He who is to be cleansed (14:7, 11). This demonstrates the need for the leper to do his share in becoming pure. He himself must seek to attain purity by repenting and behaving properly. (Meshech Chochmah)
“And if the leper is poor and he cannot afford it… (14:21)
The present chapter deals with the korban oleh v’yoreid, the adjustable, sliding scale offering, whereby the offering is adjusted according to the means of the giver. Some rabbis in the Gemara (Yoma 41) hold that in the case of defilement (tumah), if a rich man brings a poor man’s offering he has fulfilled his duty. All the rabbis agree, however, that in the case of a metzorah, if a rich metzorah brings a poor man’s offering he has not fulfilled his obligation.
Why is the metzorah the exception to this rule? The Gemara (Arachin 16) lists tzarus ayin, miserliness and envy, as character flaws that give rise to tzara’as. A wealthy metzorah bringing the meager offering of a poor man clearly demonstrates that he is not yet cured of his miserliness and envy. Therefore, his offering is not accepted. (R’ Yaakov Landau)
ורחץ במים את כל בשרו
“He shall bathe his entire flesh in water…” (15:16)
The Gemara (Eruvin 4b) explains that this refers to a mikveh of at least 40 se’ah of water (approximately 120 gallons). 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 bera 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 טבל – to immerse.
Additionally, the gematria of the words ורחץ במים – “and he shall immerse himself in water”, is equivalent to 396, the exact gematria of the phrase ובארבעים סאה – “and in forty se’ah”. Alternatively, the word במים – “in the water” can be broken up as במי ם’ – in the waters of 40 – i.e. in forty se’ah of water. (Baal Haturim)
והיה ביום השביעי יגלח את כל שערו את ראשו ואת זקנו ואת גבת עיניו
“And it shall be on the seventh day, he shall shave of all his hair: his head, his beard, and his eyebrows.” (14:9)
QUESTION: If the verse states “all his hair,” why are three areas of hair then singled out?
ANSWER: there are three causes for leprosy: a) ga’avah – arrogance b) lashon hara – evil speech and c) tzarart ayin – stinginess, having no desire to help people in need. The shaving of the hair reminds the metzorah that he must be extremely careful in specific areas to prevent the recurrence of the spiritual illness that leads to leprosy. Shaving his head reminds him never to walk around with his head up, looking down at other people. Cutting the hair of his beard reminds him not to open his mouth to utter lashon hara. Cutting the hair of his eyebrows warns hm to henceforth use his eyes to look at another Jew with kindness. (Kli Yakar)
This week’s Divrei Torah are sponsored by the Zuckerman and Goldberg families in memory of חוה בת יהודה לב – Evelyn Zuckerman of blessed memory. For future sponsorship opportunities or to receive this publication, 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.