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Vol. 20 No. 28
Shulamis bas Yeshaya z"l
(Adapted from Rabeinu Bachye)
'And G-d Spoke to Moshe and to Aharon saying, "If a person will have on the skin of his flesh a se'eis, a sapachas or a baheres and it will become on his flesh a Tzara'as plague, then he shall be brought to Aharon the Kohen or to one of his sons the Kohanim."' (13:1&2)
Citing the Medrash, Rabeinu Bachye asks why the Pasuk does not begin with the words 'Speak to the B'nei Yisrael' as it tends to throughout the Torah?
Quoting the Pasuk in Tehilim (5:5) "Because You are not a G-d who wants wickedness, evil will not dwell with You", the Medrash explains that G-d does not wish to implicate any creature, as the Pasuk writes in Yechezkel "I swear", says Hashem … , "that I do not want the wicked to die!"
What He does want is to declare His creations righteous (as the Pasuk says in Yeshayah "Hashem wants for the sake of his (Yisrael's) Righteousness, to make the Torah great and glorious") - He wants to declare His creations righteous, the Medrash concludes, and not to implicate them! And that explains why the Torah does not begin the Parshah of Nega'im with the standard phrase 'Speak to the B'nei Yisrael'.
Alternatively, "evil will not dwell with You" means that G-d's Name does not appear directly in connection with anything evil, only in connection with what is good. And the author presents no less than five examples of this from Chumash and T'nach:
1. When G-d created light and darkness (with its negative connotations), the Torah writes "And G-d called light 'day', and darkness 'night' ".
2. When He blessed Adam and Chavah, the Torah specifically writes that "G-d blessed them", whereas when He cursed them following their sin, it says simply that " … to the woman He said" and " … to Adam He said".
3. Similarly, when No'ach blessed Shem, he said "Blessed be the G-d of Shem", whereas when he cursed Cana'an, he merely said, "Cursed be Cana'an … ."
4. When Elisha the Navi Davened to Hashem, he said "Hashem, open now his eyes and let him see"; but when, on the same occasion, he cursed the Arami'im, he said "Smite this nation with blindness".
5.When G-d came to warn Yisrael about the Korbanos, He said to Moshe - "Speak to the B'nei Yisrael … a man who sacrifices from you a Korban to Hashem", whereas when He comes to warn them about the plague of Tzara'as, all He says is "If a person will have on the skin of his flesh … ".
(Continued in the next issue)
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Tzara'as on One's House
"When you will come to the land of Cana'an … I will place a plague upon a house of your possession" (14:34).
To explain why the Torah finds it necessary to mention Eretz Yisrael at the beginning of the Parshah dealing with Tzara'as on the house, the Or ha'Chayim refers to the Medrash which explains that The Merciful One does not, as a rule, strike a person immediately. First He plagues his house, then, if the sinner does not do Teshuvah, He plagues his clothes, and only if the sinner persists in sinning, does He plague his body..
In that case, the Or ha'Chayim points out, why does the Torah then leave Tzara'as on the house till the end, after Tzara'as on the body and Tzara'as on the clothes?
The answer is that, although Tzara'as on the body and on the clothes came into effect immediately, Tzara'as on the house did not, simply because they did not live in houses at that time but in tents, and tents are not subject to the Din of Tzara'as.
What the Torah is saying here is, although now, Tzara'as Adam and Tzara'as Begadim already apply, when you come to Eretz Cana'an, then I will begin the process by plaguing your houses, and only then, your bodies and your clothes.
The question remains however, why the Torah begins with Tzara'as on the body and not with Tzara'as on the clothes, to conform with the order of Chazal?
The Or ha'Chayim answers that now that Tzara'as of the house has to be listed last, as we explained, the Torah prefers to place Tzara'as of the clothes in the middle. Why is that? Because it is similar to Tzara'as Adam in some ways and to Tzara'as Batim in others: It is similar to Tzara'as Adam regarding the size - one ki'G'ris (and not two; like Tzara'as Batim), and similar to Tzara'as Batim regarding colour - green or red (and not white like Tzara'as Adam).
The Minimum Size of a Mikvah
" … then she shall count seven days and then she shall become pure (15:28) …
… in the water of a Mikvah, the Da'as Zekeinim mi'Ba'alei Tosfos explains.
The minimum size Mikvah, he explains, is forty Sa'ah (3x1x1 Amos).
The Gemara in Eruvin learns this from the Pasuk in Chukas (in connection with someone who is a Tamei Meis) 'only he shall purify himself in the water of a Nidah (i.e. the water in which a Nidah Tovels). That, in turn, we learn from Pasuk 16 of this chapter (in connection with a person who has a discharge) "and he shall bathe all his flesh in water", which Chazal explain to mean water which cover a person's entire body - forty So'oh.
This is hinted in the Pasuk in Yeshayah (8:6) "The water of the Shilo'ach which flows slowly (le'at)", the author concludes - the Gematriyah of "le'at" is forty.
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FIRST GET RID OF THE CHAMETZ
(cont. from Pesach Supplement)
In the Pesach Supplement, we cited the Chasam Sofer, who extrapolated from the Pasuk that requires the Chametz to be destroyed before the Korban Pesach is brought, that the correct way of serving G-d is first to rid oneself of one's sins and of one's evil traits and then to get involved in the performing of Mitzvos and serving G-d.
And he elaborates with the following Mashal:
A traveler was once searching for a resting-house to take a break from his travels, when he came upon an inn on the outskirts of a small town. The inn charged a high price for a room, but our traveler needed a break, so he rented the room on the terms that they offered him. He soon discovered however, that not only was the rent exorbitant, but the living conditions were unbearable; the room was full of flies and the bed crawling with bugs, the water was undrinkable and the food, inedible, not to speak of the foul smell that wafted through the window from the untended drains and gutters immediately below his room..
Eager for a bit of fresh air, he took a walk into the nearby town. To his surprise, he saw there neat roads lined by trees, and exotic vegetation, The houses were pretty and spacious, and there were many guesthouses offering rooms to rent. The people he met were full of praise of the airy rooms and wonderful service that they gave, and they told him about the excellent meals that the proprietors served.
Determined to pack his bags and move to one of the local guesthouses, he returned to his inn and informed the innkeeper that he was leaving. Why, asked the innkeeper? Because there he would be served much better food at a much lower price. The latter, worried at losing a good customer, implored him to stay, promising him to serve him the same quality foods as the local guesthouses.
The guest remained, and the inn-keeper kept his word. But to what extent was the guest able to enjoy the fine foods that he was now being served, in a room full of flies, when the bed in which he subsequently slept was teeming with bugs, and when the foul smell accompanied his meals?
This gives us an idea, the author concludes, how it will look in Olam ha'Ba, when a person receives reward for the Mitzvos that he performed, without having first done Teshuvah on one's numerous sins.
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