by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TAZRIA-METZORO 5762 BS"D
Ch. 12, v. 2: "Ishoh ki sazria v'yoldoh zochor" - Rabbi Yitzchok says in the name of Rabbi Ami, "We derive from this verse that if a woman ovulates before her husband introduces his seed, the resultant child will be a male. If the man introduces his seed before the woman ovulates the child will be a female" (gemara Nidoh 31a).
The Ksav Sofer explains why Hashem put this phenomenon into place. We know that of the 613 mitzvos, men can only fulfill some but not all of them. Likewise, women can only fulfill some but not all of the mitzvos. By having the man's component in the reproduction of a female being the dominant power, he will later merit to have the dominant merit in his daughter's mitzvos. Likewise, by having the woman's component in the reproduction of a male being the dominant force, she will later merit to have the dominant merit in her son's mitzvos.
Ch. 12, v. 2: "Ishoh ki sazria v'yoldoh zochor" - Our Rabbis have taught us that if a woman gives generously to charity it is a great merit to give birth to a son. This might be alluded to in the words of the gemara K'subos 10b, "Ishoh sheDO'MEHOH m'rubim bo'nehoh m'rubim," - A woman who has much/frequent menstrual blood will have many sons. The word DO'MEHOH can also be translated as "her money (for charity)."
We can say that this is also alluded to in our verse. "Ishoh ki sazria" - a woman who gives seed, referring to charity, as per the verse in Hoshei'a 10:12, "ZIRU lochem litz'dokoh," "v'yolodoh zochor," - she will give birth to a male. (Rabbi Shimon Agasi in Imrei Shimon)
Ch. 12, v. 3: "U'va'yom hashmini yimol b'sar orloso" - The gemara P'sochim 4a says that we derive from these words that circumcision may be performed anytime on the eighth day, even during the last fleeting minutes of the day. However, "zrizim makdimim l'mitzvos," - those who serve Hashem with enthusiasm perform mitzvos with alacrity and do them as early as is allowed, as we find by Avrohom when he was commanded by Hashem to offer his son Yitzchok as a sacrifice, "va'yashkeim Avrohom baBOKER" (Breishis 22:3). Applying the rule of "zrizim makdimim l'mitzvos" to circumcision can be understood as preparation for the mitzvoh right from the day of birth. Prior to circumcision we have 7 days and a night. If we calculate the first day from its first moment, (even though it is counted as the first day even if the baby was born at the last moment of the day) we have 180 hours. The first person to be circumcised on the eighth day was Yitzchok. Avrohom's preparation for 180 hours corresponds to the 180 years of Yitzchok's life. (Chid"o in Nachal K'dumim)
The mishneh Megiloh 20b lists the mitzvos that may be performed any time of the day. It is most puzzling that the mitzvoh of circumcision is not included. The Oruch Hashulchon answers that the mishneh intentionally left out circumcision so as not to publicize that it may be done all day, albeit halacha allows for it to take place any time of the day. We find that when the gemara gives an example of "zrizim makdimim l'mitzvos" it specifically offers circumcision. This is because with circumcision a physical sign of the most powerful covenant between Hashem and the bnei Yisroel is created and it also bestows sanctity upon the child. Delaying this mitzvoh is a major affront to the concepts of this mitzvoh. He therefore resoundingly criticizes those who delay a circumcision so that many relatives may attend. The Pis'chei Teshuvoh (Y.D. 262:2) writes that even if some unforeseen circumstances delay the circumcision, it should not be pushed off beyond midday, as before midday still has an element of "zrizim makdimim l'mitzvos."
Ch. 12, v. 5: "V'im n'keivoh" - The GR"A says that the word "n'keivoh," spelled Nun-Kuf-Beis-Hei, is an acronym for the four stages in a female's life. The Nun is "Naaroh," the Kuf is "K'tanoh," the Beis is "Bogerres," and the Hei represents a married woman. When a woman marries she receives the appellation of her husband plus the letter Hei. For example, if he is called a "chochom," she will be called a "chachomoH." There is a variation on the explanation of the letter Hei found in the Nachal K'dumim, based on the words of the Holy Zohar.
Ch. 12, v. 6: "U'vimlos y'mei tohoroh l'vein o l'vas" - Earlier in verse 2 the son who is born is called "zochor," and in verse 5 the daughter is called "n'keivoh." Only here does the verse call them a "ben" or a "bas." The Meshech Chochmoh explains this with the gemara Shabbos 135b, which says that until a newborn reaches the age of 30 days he does not yet have the status of a viable person, a "bar ka'yomo," as unfortunately, numerous children die shortly after their birth. A baby who has not achieved the status of viability does not have the title "ben," as per the gemara Nozir 13a. However, in our verse when the mother has passed the time of her purity, 33 days after the initial impure stage of 7 days after having given birth, a total of 40 days, the newborn is well past 30 days old and is a viable child, hence the title "ben" or "bas."
Ch. 13, v. 33: "V'his*G*alach" - The letter Gimel in this word is enlarged. The Baal Haturim says that this is to indicate that 3 (Gimel has the numerical value of 3) people require shaving of their complete body. They are a "nozir", a "metzoro," and the Levites at their original initiation.
Ch. 13, v. 45: "V'to'mei to'mei yikro" - The gemara Mo'eid Koton 5a derives from here that the "metzoro" should announce his anguish publicly so that people should pray to Hashem to have mercy upon him. Rabbi Yonoson Eibeschitz in Medrash Y'honoson asks why is this pointed out here rather than by any sick person. Secondly, Rashi (Breishis M.R. 53:14) on "vayishma Hashem el kole hanaar" (Breishis 21:17) writes that we derive from these words that the prayer of the sick person is more readily received by Hashem than those of someone else who prays for his wellbeing. If so, why doesn't the "metzoro" simply pray for himself, a much more effective tool than publicizing his plight so that others might pray for him?
Rabbi Yonoson says that these two questions answer each other if we add a bit of information from the Holy Zohar. He explains that the "metzoro" is called a "musgar,"--someone who is "locked in," because a "metzoro's" prayers are supressed and not accepted by Hashem. The "metzoro" is in a worse position than an ill person because specifically his prayers are not accepted. Therefore, he must publicize his condition so that others will pray for his wellbeing.
Ch. 14, v. 3: "Nirpo nega hatzoraas min haTZORUA" - Do not think that the Kohein is the one who brings about the healing of the afflicted "metzoro." He only observes and verbalizes the status of the "metzoro." For the "metzoro" to affect healing, he and only he himself must go through a process of introspection and decide to improve his ways. If we find healing of the "tzoraas," "nirpo nega hatzoraas," it can only be because of the efforts of the afflicted person himself, "min haTZORUA." (Rabbi Shlomo haLevi Gottlieb of Karlin in Sheima Shlomo)
Ch. 14, v. 4: "V'eitz erez u'shni solaas v'eizove" - Rashi (gemara Arochin 16a) says that "n'go'im" come as a result of haughtiness, holding oneself lofty. Therefore in the purifying ritual he must bring items that are lowly, "shni solaas" and "eizove." Why is it necessary to bring two items that are lowly? Also, once he is required to do so, shouldn't the verse first mention the larger of the two items, the "eizove," as explained in the gemara Nidoh 26a, that the height requirement of the "eizove" is that of a fist breadth, while "shni solaas" is shorter?
The Rambam in hilchos dei'os chapters 1 and 2 writes that in traits a person should take the golden middle path, for example not to be too generous and not to be too stingy, etc. He says that if a person is extreme in a trait, he should correct this by behaving to an extreme in the other manner. This will break his bad habit, and when he feels that it is under control he should then stop behaving in the corrective extreme manner, and continue in the middle path for the rest of his life.
We now understand the order in our verse. If a person is haughty and elevates himself like an "erez" tree, then he should first go to the other extreme, the absolute lowest level, as symbolized by the "shni solaas," the shortest of the three items, and then find a happy medium, symbolized by the "eizove" grass, whose size is between that of the "erez" tree and the "shni solaas." (Taamo Dikro)
Ch. 14, v. 9: "Y'galach es kol s'oro es rosho v'es z'kono v'es gabose einov" - Even though the Torah states that he should shave all his hair, the Torah singles out these three areas because they symbolize the causes of the "tzoraas" coming upon the "metzoro" in the first place. "Rosho" refers to haughtiness, as the verses in Yeshayohu 3:16,17 say, "Yaan ki govhu bnos Zion, KODKODE bnos Zion." "Zkono," the hairs of his beard, which surrounds his mouth, refers to his improper speech. "Gabose einov" symbolizes "tzoras ayin," stinginess. (Kli Yokor)
Ch. 15, v. 13: "V'chi yit'har hazov mizovo v'sofar lo" - Rabbi Gershon Chanoch Henoch Leiner, the Holy Admor of Radzin, notes that this verse and the next two verses contain 49 words, corresponding to the 49 days of purification the bnei Yisroel experienced in preparation for the receiving of the Torah. This is indicated by the words "V'chi yit'har .. v'sofar lo," - and he should count, alluding to the 49 days of S'firas Ho'omer. He adds that the 33rd word is "mo'eid," alluding to the special status of Lag Bo'omer, the 33rd day of the Omer counting.
The Pardes Yoseif adds that the 29th word, which corresponds to the 29th day of S'firas Ho'omer, which is always Pesach Sheini, is "Hashem." The word "Hashem" alludes to the words of Moshe when he told those who inquired of him if they have the possibility of taking part in the Paschal sacrifice even though they were defiled, "Imdu v'esh'm'oh mah y'da'beir HASHEM." The word "Hashem" appears in the phrase "u'vo lifnei Hashem el pesach ohel mo'eid," - to the OPENING of the tent of assembly. The Holy Zohar writes that "the gates to Hashem are OPEN from Pesach Sheini onwards."
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