Points to Ponder

Tazria/Metzora 5777

She should bring a dove or a Turtle dove as a Chatas (12:6)- Why must she bring a Chatas? Where is her sin? Rav Avraham Rivlin Shlita entertained many possibilities; that she swears at the time she is having children from the pain, that she pains the Neshama of the baby by bringing it into this world, or that she atones for the sin of Chava which has made childbirth so difficult for women. After these examples, he quotes the Shem MiShmuel who notes that the mother who brings a child into this world now presents with a vacuum where the potential for life and the spiritual soul was. This vacuum serves as a breeding ground for Tumah. The Yoledes brings a Chatas not for a transgression but rather because it allows her to resume the partaking of Kodashim. There was no sin but there was Tumah. The removal of the Tumah presents her with a new status, coming to that new status is the reason for the bringing of the Chatas.

This is the Torah of the one who gives birth (12:7) – Why does this Possuk appear in the middle of the story – after the Korban of the wealthier woman who has a child and then the Torah digresses after this possuk to speak of she who cannot afford the Korban? Why is the summary in the middle? Rav Chaim Kanievski Shlita explains that when the Gemara (Nedarim 35b) notes that the Korban of the Yoledes applies whether she is personally wealthy or whether only her husband is wealthy. The husband can bring Korban Yoledes on behalf of his wife. Thus, the possuk summarizes here --- this is the rule – that this Korban be brought --- unless both wife and spouse are not able to afford it. The Sar Shalom of Belz explained that Hashem blessed Am Yisrael here in general – that they should be able to bring Korban Yoledes from a perspective of wealth.

The Kohen shall look at the affliction on the skin of his flesh; If hair in the affliction has turned white, and the affliction’s appearance is deeper than the skin of his flesh –- it is a Tzara’as affliction; the Kohen shall look at it and make him impure.” [Vayikra 13:3] – Why is there a double stress on the looking of the Kohein? And what difference does it make if he is looking (V’Ra’ah) versus looking at (V’RaAhu)? The Meshech Chochma explains that there are 2 calculations that the Kohein must make in diagnosis here. First he must see to it that the issue of Tzoraas is even relevant. Once there, he must check the person to see if he is one able to handle the diagnosis – a Chosson, for instance, would not be included in the diagnosis. Since the Torah’s ways are Darchei Noam, the instructions are provided accordingly.

When you come into the land…I shall place a Nega Tzoraas on your homes (14:34) – Rashi notes that this Tzoraas was a good sign of hidden treasure. Elsewhere, the Tanchuma explain s that Tzoraas on the house was a lesser punishment than tzoraas on the body. How are we to make sense of this apparent contradiction? Is it a prize or a punishment to find Tzoraas on your home? Rav Moshe Wolfson Shlita explained that it is both. Really the Tzoraas on the home is meant as an indication of a transgression. Otherwise, Hashem could reveal treasure in another way. However, in the same way we do not want the punished to speak ill of others (hence the Tzoraas) we do not want people to speak of him publicly. Thus, the means of hiding the punishment of the individual within the general opportunity that the Tzoraas is a blessing provides the individual with a perfect cover to examine his own meaning of the Tzoraas on his home.

 And his hands were not washed in water () – Why would one think that the hands are unique? The Gemara notes that this is a Remez to Netilas Yadayim. The Gemara notes that the hands are on the outside so too, the water needs to get on the outside not the Beis HaSesarim. Also, Maga Beis HaSetarim does not count. Both rules are learned from Yadav. Rav Schachter Shlita quoted the Pri Megadim that there is a difference between Asmachta and Asmachta B’Alma is that the latter is just a reference but the Asmachta means that Hashem wanted it to be discovered in that it was written that way.

And you shall caution Bnei Yisrael from their Tumah and they shall not perish when they enter my Mishkan in their midst (15:31) – What is the need to mention that the Mishkan was within their midst? The Nesivos Shalom explains that the reference here is to the heavenly portion that is inside each person. Simply that Hashem cannot handle dwelling in the Tumah within the person who is Tamai.

Haftorah: And there were 4 men who had Tzoraas were outside the gate (Melachim II 7:3) – Gechazi’s Tzoraas was brought on by the false promise that he had pledged to Elisha. Most times, it happens because of Lashon HaRa. The Netziv writes that the reason that Tzoraas does not afflict us today is that we would not get the message. The sins that bring on Tzoraas afflict the soul and Tzoraas would bring on great physical pain and embarrassment that would disrupt his life. This, says Rav Pam ztl., would be an early alert warning to change one’s trajectory of life. However, the fact that it does not happen today is a major disadvantage as the sin compounds and the ability to get beyond it becomes almost herculean.