פ’ תזריע מצורע – תשע”ה
Volume 8, Issue 6
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.
ובמלאת ימי טהרה לבן או לבת
“And when the days of her purification are fulfilled for a son or for a daughter…” (12:6)
QUESTION: At the beginning of the parsha, the Torah speaks of a woman who has given birth to a male or a female, when it states “v’yalda zachar”, and gives birth to a male, and “v’im nikeivah teleid”, if she gives birth to a female. Why does the Torah change its terminology here and say, And when the days of her purification are fulfilled for a son or for a daughter, using son or daughter instead of male and female?
ANSWER: According to the law, until the newborn reaches thirty days, his life is still questionable, and it is not considered a full-fledged person. For this reason the Torah uses the term “male” and “female”. However, when the days of the woman’s purification are fulfilled – 33 days for a male and 66 days for a female – the child is no longer considered questionable and he or she can be called “son” or “daughter”. (Meshech Chochmah)
ואיש או אשה כי יהיה בו נגע בראש
“A man or a woman in whom there will be an affliction on the head…” (13:29)
Since Hashem punishes מדה כנגד מדה, measure for measure, it is reasonable to assume that the person who suffers from an affliction upon the head, sinned with his head. This can be seen as speaking of one who has become “big headed”, or haughty. What is the cure for such a person? He must reverse the letters of ראש, head, so that they form שאר, a remnant. In other words, he must see himself not as important, but as less significant than others. Indeed, the Talmud teaches that Hashem honors one who makes himself like remnants (Megillah 15b), by treating himself as a mere remnant instead of a head. When he cures himself or his haughtiness, the need for the affliction will be gone. (Kol Dodi)
וטמא טמא יקרא
“And he must call out, “unclean, unclean!” (13:45)
This phrase alludes to a well-known dictum kol haposel bemuno posel, “he who condemns someone else will always accuse that person of the vices of which he himself is guilty.”
Applying an unconventional translation to the present passage, this meaning emerges. Vetamei tamei yikra (literally translated, “and he must call out, ‘Unclean, unclean!’”) may also be understood as, Vetamei, it is the unclean person, who tamei yikra, will call his neighbor “unclean.” (Shelah)
זאת תהיה תורת המצורע
“This shall be the law of the leper…” (14:2)
The word for leper is metzorah, which can be seen as an abbreviation for the words מוציא (שם) רע, depicting slander. As discussed in Parshat Tazria, leprosy is not a natural disease. It is the result of seven sins, generally, lashon hara. Lashon hara is worse than bloodshed. One who murders, murders but one person. However, one who speaks lashon hara harms three: the one who speaks it, the one who hears it and the one who is spoken of.
When a person speaks ill of his fellow man, he is considered to have violated the entire Torah. The word “Torah” (law) is written here five times, once in the Parshat Tazria and four times in Parshat Metzorah: This is the law of the leprous mark (13:59); This is the law of the metzorah (14:2); This is the law of one who has the mark of leprosy (14:33); This is the law for every leprous mark (14:54); This is the law of leprosy (14:57). The study of the Five Books of the Torah and the practice of the mitzvoth of the Torah are the best remedy against the flaws that bring about such afflictions. (Torah Gems)
זאת תהיה תורת המצורע
“This shall be the law of the leper…” (14:2)
The Midrash Tanchuma comments that the plague of tzara’as, leprosy, is in retribution for tale-bearing and slander. The prohibition against tale-bearing is stated in Parshat Kedoshim, לא תלך רכיל בעמך, “Do not go around as a gossiper among your people.” (Vayikra 19:16) The numerical value of this clause adds up to 883. Its punishment, נגע צרעת, also amounts to 883. Thus, the sin and its penalty are equivalent – the punishment fits the crime. (Otzar Chaim)
והובא אל אהרן הכהן
“Then he shall be brought to Aharon, the Kohen…” (14:2)
QUESTION: Why did the Torah mandate that the examination of the plague shall be done by Aharon Hakohen or by one of his sons?
ANSWER: Our Sages reply: Chazal have specified in various sources that plague is the result of malicious gossip, and lashon hara. Many of those tale carriers claim that they are “only speaking the truth”! They are truly convinced that they are committing a good deed by bringing the truth about their “friends” out in the open.
Accordingly, the Torah teaches us that the leper will be brought to Aharon Hakohen. To learn from him that for the sake of peace between fellow men, man may stray from the truth. This was the way of Aharon Hakohen. When he saw two men who hated one another, he would go to one, without the knowledge of the other, and tell him: “Your friend came to me and asked me to mend the rift between you.” In this way, Aharon was able to spread peace and harmony among Bnei Yisrael.
As important as truth is in the life of mankind, peace among men, is even more important. Aharon Hakohen taught this to all the lepers who were brought to him. As a result, they repented their ways and were cured from their disease. (Torah Gems)
וצוה הכהן ולקח למטהר שתי צפרים חיות טהרות
“The Koehn shall command; and for the person being purified there shall be taken two live, clean birds.” (14:4)
It is noteworthy that in the purification process of the metzorah, the Kohen must witness the ceremony and instruct the participants. This is unlike any other mitzvah, for in all other mitzvot, those commanded to fulfill the mitzvah naturally comply, and no supervision is required. In this case, however, the Torah requires supervision, to teach us that when we instruct our pupils in the way of Hashem, it does not suffice merely to teach them what to do, but we must stand over them and watch how they do it. Particularly, if a pupil errs, as the metzorah did, he definitely requires individual attention. Only in this manner can we hope that one’s disciples will be G-d fearing people and Bnei Torah. (Drash Moshe)
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