Points to Ponder

Metzorah/HaGadol 5776

And the Kohein shall command and take for he who is seeking purification – 2 live Tahor birds (14:4) – The Zohar HaKadosh explains that the birds are – one for Lashon HaRa and the other for Lashon HaTov. Why would one need to bring a Korban on Lashon HaTov? Rav Bernard Weinberger Shlita (Shemen HaTov) explains that the lack of encouragement is also an error on our parts. The Chasam Sofer makes a similar point in regard to the commanding of the Chochmei Lev (P. Tetzaveh) – that Moshe was to tell them that Milasiv Ruach Chochma – in other words that they had the capability and could build the Mishkan.

Shni Tolaas (14:4) – The Chida tells a story of a certain philosopher who once explained to the Chida that the reason why we ride on horses and cows is that in the food chain, they are food for people. Riding on them is a sign of domination. The Chida retorted that based on that argument, that humans are worm food and accordingly we should be enslaved to them? He explained that a life without Hashem in it is indeed Sheni B’Tolaas --- secondary to the worms.

And he shall atone on his Tumah (14:19) – What kind of Kappara is needed on the Tumah itself?  Rav Simcha Zissel Broide ztl. explained that the Metzorah’s physical and social suffering is immense. It is understandable that the Metzorah, in the midst of his pain and aloneness would contemplate Hashem and His middos. He might even  challenge Hashem in the process. Therefore, a kappara on the Tumah itself is offered in addition to the Kappara on the rest of the process that led to the Tzoraas.

And if he is poor (14:21) – The Toras Kohanim explains that there are 2 terms that describe poor – Dal and Ani. The difference is whether he can afford. The person who lost money is still obligated to bring the expensive korbanos here if it is feasible but difficult. Why?  The Torah is teaching us a valuable lesson – that despite the fact that the person is financially strapped and normally the Torah wants the person to have a bit of a respite, his actions that led to Tzoraas require him to step up to the place and take responsibility for them.

I will place a Nega Tzoraas in your home (14:34) – Rashi notes that it is a promise that they will find Tzoraas on the home in order to demonstrate wealth in the home. Couldn’t Hashem find a different sign to show that he wanted to give the people the Canaanite wealth? Rabbi Shlomo Einhorn Shlita once pointed out that walls serve both to protect from the inside and to serve as barriers from the outside as to whether one may continue. Rabbi Einhorn suggested that the same is true of wealth as well. It can serve to protect or as a barrier to how far one may go. At the same time, it is also used often to sin. One needs to be careful to make sure to use it properly or it can be a sign of sin.

And he shall wash in water (15:5) – Rav Rivlin Shlita points out that the concept of a mikvah is linked to the concept of rebirth with an eye toward Tahara as the goal. He is quick to quote Rav Goldvicht Ztl. who notes that the Mikvah sheds the Chessed of tumah (a world of desire) for a Chessed of Tahara. Thus, there can be no Chatzizah – the entire body must be at one with the experience.

And she shall count for herself (15:28) – Must she count out loud? Rav Schachter Shlita explained that perhaps even Tosafos might agree that the Zavah need not count 7 days verbally. Still, Tosafos seems to be of the opinion that the count would have had a Beracha – similar to that of the Sefiras HaOMer. How can a Beracha be recited on a cognition without any action associated with it? Rav Schachter suggested in the name of Rav Soloveitchik that perhaps the count is a means of allowing the Bedikah. Since a Bedika is an action then the count can have a Beracha immediately prior to the concrete action that is the Bedikah.

Haftorah – And he shall return the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers (Malachi 3:24) – Rav Pam ztl. noted that for centuries it was the children who left the parents and tradition that they offered. Our generation has seen the opposite – children who leave their parent’s commitment to a secular life for a life of Teshuva. One could never have imagined it! Similar to Pesach whereby one could never have imagined the change from bondage to freedom.