פ’ תזריע – ראש חדש – פ’ החדש תשע”ט
Volume 28, Issue 4
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.
וביום השמיני ימול בשר ערלתו
“On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” (12:3)
The day of milah is considered the day of birth. Perhaps that is why we have a minhag to name a baby at his bris milah. This fits beautifully with the commentary of the Chasam Sofer in Vayeira 21:18, ויעש אברהם משתה גדול ביום הגמל את יצחק – Avraham made a party each year on the day that Yitzchak had his bris milah because that was his “birthday.” (Maharshal)
Why do we wait until the eighth day to make a brit milah? Milah is compared to a korban. Just as the sprinkling of the blood from the offering on the mizbeach served as a kapparah, so too, the blood drawn from the milah serves as a kapparah. Just like an animal may not be brought as a korban before it is eight days old, so too, a child may not offer his own “blood offering” until he is at least eight days old. The seudah after the bris milah is a hint to the eating of a korban after it is slaughtered. The forgiveness achieved by a korban is fully attained after the parts that are supposed to be eaten by the owners and kohanim are consumed. Similarly, the completion of the bris milah occurs at the seudah after the bris. (Rabbeinu B’Chayei)
The parsha begins with the laws of the purification of a woman who gives birth, and then continues with the laws of various forms of tumah. While discussing the laws of the woman who gives birth to a boy, the Torah abruptly changes the topic to inform us that the infant should have a bris milah on the eighth day, and then continues to describe various types of tumah and their purifications. Why does the Torah stop to tell us about the mitzvah of bris milah in the middle of discussing the laws of tumah?
The Torah begins the parsha with a baby being born. At that point, there is tumah; perhaps it would have been better had the child not been born at all. The Torah immediately tells us about the bris milah. It is a sign for Klal Yisrael that we are Hashem’s nation. If we remember the bris, and follow the will of Hashem, then it was worthy for us to have been created. Nisan is a time for fresh beginnings. If we fail once, we still have another beginning to try and get it right. We must never fall into despair of not fulfilling our potential. We must always search for the new beginning and strive to make ourselves worthy of being created. (Torah Anthology)
נגע צרעת הוא
“It’s a tzara’at affliction…” (13:3)
Why is Parshat Shmini, which discusses which foods are permitted and prohibited to eat, near Parshat Tazria, which discusses various types of tumah? There are people who are very careful regarding the foods they put into their mouths, however, they are not as careful in how they speak. Even if one is exacting with what he puts into his mouth, he must still take care that his mouth does not become tamei by what comes out of it. The transgression of lashon hara brings tzara’as, which is tamei, upon a person, and is harmful to the spiritual well-being of the individual. (Ta’am V’Da’at)
ועל שפם יעטה וטמא טמא יקרא
“And he must cover his head down to his upper lip, and he must call out, ‘unclean, unclean!’” (13:45)
Chazal point out that the leprous afflictions come as a punishment for the sin of talebearing and slander. Like every Torah punishment, leprosy corresponds directly to the sin that caused it. Lashon Hara, malicious gossip is caused by an unrestricted tongue, by a tongue that has trespassed the double barrier that Hashem created to restrain it: the teeth and the lips. Therefore, a third barrier is now placed around his tongue and “he must cover his head down to his lips.”
Additionally, the person punished with leprosy must call out, “unclean, unclean!” This, too, corresponds directly to his sin. Because he used his tongue by speaking ill of others, he must now publicly announce that he is unclean. (Imrei Shefer)
Rav Chaim Friedlander zt”l would say: “Ga’avah (excessive pride) could well be the affliction of our generation. A person of arrogant spirit is always is looking at what the other has. He is pained when others have more than he has, for he feels he deserves all they have, and more. In fact, this illness even finds its way into religious homes, when Jews are not satisfied with what they have. When one sees what his neighbor drives, he wants to keep up with the ‘Cohens’ and buy the same thing. This attitude brings one to all forms of sin, namely jealousy, hatred and arguments, and it disrupts shalom bayit, as it causes dissatisfaction with what one has, which leads to arguments.”
A Wise Manonce said: “You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be before it’s too late!”
Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov! May this month of geulah hastily bring Moshiach and the Jews closer together to one another and to Hashem.
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