Points to Ponder

Tazria/HaChodesh 5776

When a woman gives birth (12:2) – Rav Moshe Tzvi Neriah ztl. noted that there are 2 words utilized in having children – Yesod and Binyan. The man gets Yesod from the father but is built up by the mother. Fathers lay groundwork of intellectual stamina in their children. Mothers, using Bina Yesaira, building on the base knowledge and using it to craft strong buildings on the solid foundations.

When a woman has a baby and it is a male (12:2) – Rashi cites the Midrash that notes that in the same way that man was created after all the other creatures, his laws (status) is listed after all of the other creatures whose kosher status is identified in Parshas Shemini. Sifsei Chachamim comment that technically the story of Parshas Metzorah should thus precede the story of Tazria for Metzora deals with the Tumah of a male while the Tazria story commences with the Tumah of a female? Rav Yisrael Grossman ztl (Rosh Yeshivas Karlin/Stolin and father of Rav Yitzchock Dovid Grossman Shlita) noted that they were created at the same time (See Eruvin 18a) and thus giving preference to the woman before  the man is not a challenge. (Perhaps the preference is chronological – one needs to be born before one can be a Metzorah).

On the eighth day you should give him a Bris (12:3) – The Gemara (Shabbos 132a) uses this text to show that a Milah happens even on Shabbos if it is on time. Rema seems to Pasken that one who does a Milah early is Yotzai. If so, asks the Shach, why do we not do so in order to avoid a Shabbos violation? Sfas Emes answers that if one is not Chiyav to do the Bris then, so one should not do the Bris then.  This is the meaning of on the eighth day you should do the Bris – the eighth you CAN and prior to that point you may not.

When a person has a Seies on the flesh of his body (13:2) – Rav Nosson Tzvi Wachtfogel ztl. notes that there is a commonality in the 7 things that cause Negaim. They all lead a person to decide not to be a fair partner with the world. As a result, the person thinks that everything is his  -- and that others lack value in his life. Thus, the person speaks badly about the others, does not lend to them, etc. He/she can only see that which is his and all is, in his mind, his. This is the Tzaar Ayin of Toraas.

And the Kohein shall see and the white Se’es on the skin (13:10) – This week’s Parsha seems to imply that the color white is a color of Tumah and Tzoraas. When it comes to the Sa’eir HaMishtaleiach and Yom Kippur in general, we treat white as a sign of Tahara.How can the same white be a sign both ways? The Otzaros Hatorah points out that when a person sins Bein Adam L’Chaveiro, then even the greatest signs of purity turn on him.

It all turned white, it is Tahor (13:13) – How could the very sign of Tumah be Tahor if it suddenly all encompassing? Rav Schachter Shlita mentioned that there is a Gemara that notes that Moshiach cannot come until the entire world turns to heresy. Rav Schachter compared it to Reishis HaGeiz. When one gives Reishis, he cannot give it all to the kohein. The Meleches Shlomo explains that when we make something Kodesh, that Kedusha is enhanced by its contrast to Chol. The same is true, suggested, Rav Schachter in the opposite, we cannot have Tumah if there is no Tahara contrast.

On the day that live skin can be seen he shall be Tamai (13:14) – Rashi explains that there are certain days we do not even check. A Chosson for instance, is given 7 days of the Sheva Berachos in order not to ruin the days. The Eretz Tzvi of Kosenglov ztl. asks how a Chosson can even get Tzoraas if on the day of his Chuppah he is forgiven for his sins? Rav Menachem Zeimba ztl. Hy”D answered that this is true for the day of the Chuppah but not for the subsequent days.  The Imrei Emes adds that when one is forgiven for his sins, that is Bein Adam L’Makom. But the Bein Adam L’Chaveiro Aveiros are not forgiven. Tzoraas is a means of punishing the sins Bein Adam L’Chaveiro  and if one is guilty of sinning there, he needs to ask Mechilah.

Alone he shall sit, outside of the camp is his place (13:46) – Rashi notes that this teaches us that others who are Tamai should not be with him. Why is this the case? Rav Yisrael Salanter ztl. explained that the sending of the Metzora outside is due to his or her incredible ability to find fault within everyone else. Rather than let that talent go to waste, we remove him from society so as to let that talent – finding fault – get its proper time working on the person himself.  The Brisker Rav ztl. added that Yonah was on a boat surrounded  by Ovdei Avoda Zara and still recognized his obligation to see the troubles befalling him as being connected to him.

Haftorah: When the people would come before Hashem on the appointed days whoever enters the North gate is to leave by the south gate (Yechezkel 46:9) – Rav Chaim Shmuelevitz ztl. explains that that the reason why the people were told to leave from a different gate than the one they entered is due to the fact that people tend to become bored with repetitive acts and look for change. The Torah wanted the Aliyah L’Regel experience to be fresh and inspiring – not habit. Therefore the people were told to go in a different way than the one they came – to provide a unique variety. Rav Pam ztl. would often add that the same is true for the Mechanchim. A Mechanech does not teach Chumash or Gemara – he teaches Talmidim. By focusing on the students as people, the newness and freshness of a curriculum becomes exciting.