Parshat Tazria Vol.9 No.26
Date of issue: 3 Nissan 5760 -- April 8, 2000
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Lizecher Nishmat Avinu Chaim ben Tzvi Halevi
(1 Nissan 5743)
Ve'achoteinu Sarah bat Tzvi Halevi
(17 Adar 5745)
May their memories be blessed.
“It Seemed So Powerful, So Unshakable”
by Doctor Joel Berman
Vera'a Hakohen Vehinei...Tahor Hu, “And the Kohen shall look, and behold, the Tzaraat has covered him entirely, and he shall declare the affliction pure; having turned completely white, it is pure” (13:13).
In Gemara Sanhedrin (97), Rav Yitzchak says, “Mashiach will not come until all of the kingdoms have become heretical (based solely on Sheker, falsehood).” As a support, Rava quotes our Pasuk, “[The Tzaraat], having turned completely white, it is pure.” Rav Shimon Schwab, zt”l, asks, “What do the Halachot of Nega'im have to do with Geulah?”
It is well known that any successful lie must contain some element of truth or it will not be believed. Rashi cites the Meraglim as an example. Their report began with milk and honey and ended describing a land that “eats its inhabitants.” So too, Chazal teach us that Tumah cannot exist independently. It needs at least a small source of purity for nourishment or it will disappear, i.e. “having turned completely white, it is pure.”
I remember having a discussion with one of my Rabbeim about the fall of the Soviet Union. “It seemed so powerful, so unshakable,” he said. He told me how he stood transfixed watching the Berlin wall being broken apart by an angry mob with sledgehammers, until the Mashgiach said to him, “Nu? What did you expect?” It is laughable that the most sought-after degree in the Soviet university system used to be Doctor of Communism. Now, a former professor of Communism is utterly unemployable. Anything based on lies ultimately fails.
It has been my experience that the truth is often like a bubble trapped under water. It might take a long time for it to surface, but eventually it does. Rav Yitzchak is telling us that the time for Mashiach will be when, after experimenting with just about everything else and seeing those systems collapse, we finally put our faith exclusively in Hashem, the Torah, and Mitzvot.
Childbirth; Is It a Sin?
by Zevi Goldberg
Childbirth is one of the most amazing and inspiring events that a woman can undergo; it is a way for humans to imitate Hashem and create something new, just like He does. One would expect that after such an experience, a new mother would bring a Korban Todah (thanksgiving sacrifice); however, the Torah commands the mother to bring a Korban Chatat instead. What would compel the Torah to make the mother bring such a Korban? It seems inappropriate for the occasion.
Rav Kelman cites a Midrash, which explains that since childbirth is a painful experience there may have been a split second of extreme pain in which the mother may have thought that it would have been better not to have the child at all. Even though the mother did not mean this seriously, the very fact that this thought entered her mind is reason enough to make her give a Chatat instead of a Todah.
Nechama Leibowitz offers a different explanation. When a child is born, the mother looks at this pure and innocent child and looks at herself and what she has become. More often than not, the mother will realize that when she was born she had so much potential to become an amazing person; however, as time went on, she drifted farther and farther from that goal. The very fact that the mother comes to terms with this and realizes how little she really has accomplished is reason enough to give a Chatat to Hashem.
When a baby is born, its parents, especially its mother, start to realize how special life is. The free, nonchalant attitude that people express before the baby’s arrival is brought to a halt upon the birth of the child, when new responsibilities arise for the parents. After this maturing process, the parents realize how irresponsible and greedy they might have been. Only once the baby is born can parents truly appreciate how much their parents sacrificed for them and how much they owe their parents and Hashem for being so considerate and caring for them all this time. After the parents experience the birth and maturing process, it is no surprise that the mother brings a Chatat and not a Todah; now she realizes what it means to be considerate just like her parents and Hashem were to her.
God, Woman, and Man
by David Gertler
Isha Ki Tazria Veyalda Zachar, “A woman, when she conceives and gives birth to a boy” (12:2).
Many have pointed out that if you take the word Ish and the word Isha and take out the letters Yud and Hey, respectively, you are left with Aish, fire. From here we see that taking Hashem (Yud-Hey) out of the marriage can only lead to disaster.
The Chida writes that a woman should not feel as if she does not need her husband, and if she feels this way, she will have an unhappy marriage. Why would a woman want to get married? Women in groups are much stronger than men in groups; each woman gives love and support to each member of the group, creating a sense of unity. However, men in groups still act as individuals and not as a group.
This question has two answers. First, Rabbi Mark Smilowitz explained that according to human psychology, each child ideally has two parents while growing up. When the child reaches adulthood, the child replaces one parent and chooses a partner to replace the other parent. Second, many women would like to have children, which requires them to get married. From here we see the three way bond of marriage, in which the husband, wife, and Hashem must be present and compliment each other in order to make a happy marriage.
The Chida writes that the initial letters of Ki Tazria Veyalda Zachar spell the word Zechut. By the Zechut, merit, of the mother, the path of the child shall be determined. Rabbi Munk writes that the Mispar Katan of Isha is nine. Nine is very special; it is considered an eternal number because its Mispar Katan cannot be changed (9x2=18, 1+8=9; 9x34=306, 3+0+6=9; etc.). It is the same Mispar Katan as Emet and Chai. The Chida writes Motza Isha Motza Tov. He adds that the Gematria of Motza is equal to the Gematria of Anava, modesty. Rabbi Munk writes that the ä of àùä represents modesty as well. He cites a proof from the following Pasuk: Vaye'ehav Et Hanaara Vayidaber Al Leiv Hanaara (Bereishit 34:3). This Pasuk, taken from the story of the rape of Dina, shows that Dina "went out" (34:1) and was acting in an improper manner; the Hey from the word Naara was taken out to show this. We see that one should look for a proper, modest woman to be his wife, in order to have an eternal loving relationship.
As a last note, the Chida writes that Isha in Gematria is equal to Devash honey. Isha Metuka Bimidot Tovot Vena'ot.
We should all have the merit of learning many valuable lessons from the women around us.
Remembering Our Origins
by Avi Shteingart
The beginning of this week’s Parsha discusses the laws of Tuma and Tahara, purity and impurity. The impurity of a mother after giving birth is particularly perplexing.
Giving birth is a blessing as well as a commandment in the Torah. Hashem commanded Adam and Noach (twice) to be fruitful and multiply. Why should a mother be declared unclean for fulfilling a Mitzva? Why must she offer a Korban Chatat?
The Abarbanel suggests an answer to this problem. He says that in order for a mother to honor Hashem after He caused her pain and suffering she should go to the Bait Hamikdash and give a Korban. However, the Abarbanel’s idea does not explain why a Chatat, and not any other Korban, is given.
The Midrashim give several different approaches. Rabbi Levi says that Hashem caused great miracles for the parents. He gives an example of a man who turns a purse upside down, releasing coins. However, the mother’s womb is held upside down and miraculously the baby remains inside. Hashem preserves the baby because, unlike animals, the embryo is upright and Hashem makes sure that it does not fall out.
Another Midrash discusses how the baby comes from a dirty place, just like marble and beautiful wooden furniture. One should remember where the baby comes from inside the mother, and she must also remember that her child comes from Hashem. Therefore, she must go to the sanctuary where Hashem dwells.
We can learn a very important lesson from this: we must remember where we came from and never forget Hashem. In Parshat Kedoshim, Rabbi Hirsch comments that when the Torah says, “You shall fear Me, Hashem” after each commandment we should learn that one should not feel that he is being judged by his fellow man or a human judge; rather, he should feel that Hashem is constantly watching him and He is the Judge.
Halacha of the Week
We should check the pockets of our jackets and coats during the course of Bedikat Chametz (Rama O.C. 333:11). The Mishna Berura (431:4-8) writes that this applies to jackets and coats of children as well. The Mishna Berura (431:47) adds that this obligation applies even if one is sure that he did not place Chametz in his pockets.
Food for Thought
by Dani Gross
1) The pinnacle of Parshat Shemini is the death of Nadav and Avihu. Aharon wanted to mourn the death of his sons, yet he was quiet. Right after this amazing event come the laws of Kosher and non-Kosher animals, the laws of Tzaraat, and the laws of giving birth. Then the death of Nadav and Avihu is repeated. What is the reason for breaking up the flow of Nadav and Avihu’s death with these laws? (Heard from Rav Moshe Taragin)
2) The Or Hachaim Hakadosh says that the role the Kohen plays in healing Tzaraat is as the Mechaper. This can be seen from the Pesukim, as it says Hakohen Vetim'o and, in 13:17, Vetiher Et Hanogeiah...Tahor Hu. Why is it that the Kohen is given the role of Mechaper?
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