Points to Ponder

Tazria-Metzora 5775

Topics of Tazria-Metzora – The general Mitzvos of Parshiyos Tazria and Metzorah focus on 4 basic tumos – those of Yoledes, Metzorah, Zav and Zava.  In the Midrash (VaYikra Rabbba 19:3), these mitzvos are often referred to as “Shechora” or dark  to be studied  in public. Notwithstanding,  Hashem wants to have them and accepts them pleasantly like Minchas Yehudah. Rav Aharon Lichtenstein ztl. noted that these areas are often referred to as Shechorah for in the eyes of the learner, they seem more dry and unpleasant. However, one needs to approach ALL areas of Torah not with an approach of Shechorah but rather with a shine that all Divrei Torah are full and have what to offer even when it seems that some areas are more inviting to a particular person.

She shall bring a year old sheep as an Olah and a dove as a Chatas (12:6)The Baal Haturim asks that normally a Tor appears in the Possuk before the Ben Yonah. Why is it reversed here? He answers that normally they are brought as a pair but here when a single one is brought, Hashem prefers that the Ben Yona be brought first. Why? Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein Shlita explains that a Tor only lives with its spouse. Taking the spouse then, effectively ends the life for the remaining Tor. Thus, it would be better for the Ben Yona to be taken because there is a future in it and for it.

When a man has a blemish in his skin (13:2) – Rav Schachter Shlita noted that unlike the beginning of Sefer VaYikra, this time the word “Meekem” does not appear. Rashi explains that just like man was created after the rest of the creations, his Torah (the Torah of his Tumah) is offered afterward as well. And as by creation – the man who builds on creation, deserves and identifies as a crowning moment of creation.  If not, he is lower than anything created. Citing Rav Soloveitchik ztl.  Rav Schachter explains  that when a person lives a Jewish life that includes Meekem, he is not external but ideal. However, when one sins, it is a result of external influences – it does not come from his internal sense and therefore the word Meekem would not apply.  

And he shall be called Tamai Tamai (13:45) – Why is the word Tamai repeated twice? Rav Shmuel of Slonim ztl. likened the situation to one holding on to a magnet. The magnet attracts metals. Even if the person does not want to attract metals, holding onto the magnet makes him susceptible to metals being attracted to him. The only way out is to let go of the magnet. The same is true in regard to Negaim – or Avairos in general – the style needs to be dropped in order to see to it that the avairos cease.

He shall remain alone outside of the camp is his place ( 13:46) – Rav Yaakov Kamenetzsky ztl. notes that the Metzorah concept is not one based upon a physical disability or contagious illness. If it were, it would not be dependent on the Kohein who would be able to delay his Psak for circumstantial reasons. The reason he needs to go out of the camp is because he  needs to separate himself from the Chevra wherein he was able to sin in order to contemplate his avenue for Teshuvah. The choice is in his hands – proving that the experience and punishment are indeed divine.

The live bird shall be taken (14:6) – Why is one bird left alive while the other is Shechted? The Midrash answers that in the same way something that is slaughtered can never return to its previous state of living, so too, the person afflicted with Tzoraas can never return to speaking in the same way. Rav Yaakov Ettlinger ztl. explains that once someone receives the Makkah in his body, he can never sin the same way again. The process is progressive – Tzoraas afflicts the money (home) first followed by the clothes and then the body. Thus, once afflicted, the person has the chance to learn not to desire that which is not rightly his, and not to desire personal honor and attention(as he experienced negative attention as a result of the Tzoraas), it helps to see to it that he lives but the negative side of him, is restored and improved.

K’Nega Nirah Lee BaBayis (14:35) – Rav Zvi Hirsch Meiels ztl. asked why the language of the person coming to the Kohein is with the non-committal “ K’” ? He answers that once a Shaylah is answered, even by the individual, it is wrong to seek a Heter. Moreover, he adds that one should not answer the question before the Kohein as it is a sign of disrespect. Here there is an advantage to his displaying care – it saves his material possessions.


Haftorah:  And Hashem let forth the sound of chariots and horses and of a great army – Why was it necessary to have the sounds of the chariots and of the horses if there was already going to be the sounds of the great army? Also, why did the people of Aram leave their horses and donkeys in the camp when they ran away? Wasn’t it easier to flee on horse or donkey than to flee on foot? Rav Aryeh Leib Pleta ztl. suggests that Hashem wanted to return the Jewish wealth lost to Aram. If the Aramians would have fled on horse or donkey, then the Jewish nation would not have gained the lost livestock. Therefore Hashem had the Arameans think that if they took their animals, they would be discovered as the animals might make noise when the Jews came out looking for them on horse and chariot. They knew that in such a case the individual Aramean might not get away and that their own horses and donkeys might give their hiding places away. Therefore, the noise of the horses and chariots added to the victory and the miracle.