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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 3: "Uva'yom hashmini yimol b'sar orloso" - And on the eighth day he shall circumcise the flesh of his foreskin - There are teo opinions in the gemara Shabbos regarding the act of circumcising on Shabbos. All agree that it pushes aside Shabbos when it is done on the eighth day. One opinion is that the act is intrinsically "kilkul," destructive, but causing bleeding is an exception and is prohibited on Shabbos in all cases, even when it is destructive. A second opinion is that destructive bleeding is not a Torah level prohibition, but circumcision requires a special dispensation because it is constructive b virtue of its being a mitzvoh. There is a prohibition to remove a "nega" from someone's body. If the "nega" appears on the area to be removed by circumcision it is permitted, just as Shabbos is pushed aside. However, the gemara says that it is preferable to have this done by someone besides the father, as the father wants the "nega" removed from his son, while for another person it is of no great concern. If only the father is capable of performing the circumcision, then he may do it. The Chasam Sofer explains that there is no law of "nega" for a non-ben Yisroel. The permit for the father to perform the circumcision in the afore-mentioned case, which is constructive according to both opinions is because there is one location on a ben Yisroel's body that is considered non- Jewish. This is the "orloh" foreskin. Hence he is removing a "nega" of non-ben Yisroel.

Ch. 12, v. 3: "Uva'yom hashmini yimol b'sar orloso" - And on the eighth day he shall circumcise the flesh of his foreskin - A boy was born with a club foot that a pediatric orthopedic doctor said could only be totally corrected if a sort of cast would be put on the leg and kept there for an extended period of time. If this procedure were to be delayed the expert felt that the malformed foot could not be properly corrected. The cast would negate the possibility of doing a circumcision on the eighth day. What should be done? This question was sent to the Sochatchover Rebbe, the Avnei Nezer. He responded that if we were to accept the assessment of the pediatric orthopedic doctor, he had two reasons for permitting the procedure even though it would cause the circumcision to be pushed off. Firstly, just as one is not required to fulfill a positive precept when it involves the expenditure of a large ratio of his holdings (see Sh.O. O.Ch. #656), having a permanent physical blemish is at least as great as an expenditure beyond halachic requirements. Secondly, the need to act to correct the foot is immediate, while the mitzvoh of circumcision is presently not existent. He added that there was a difference in practical terms between the two reasons. Based on the first reason, even if the procedure were to be delayed until the eighth day (assuming that there was a real concern that waiting any longer would put its efficacy into question) one should still proceed with the procedure, while based on the second reason it must be done before nightfall going into the eighth day, and surely not on the eighth day by day. (Responsa Avnei Nezer Y.D. 2:325)

Ch. 12, v. 8: "V'im lo simtzo yodoh dei seh" - And if her hand will not acquire sufficient for a sheep - The woman who has given birth has a sliding scale korbon opportunity. Why here is there only one level of reduction, from a sheep to a pair of birds, while by he who swears falsely regarding financial matters we have an even lower level, of bringing a meal offering? The gemara Nidoh 16b says that with the birth of a child comes the heavenly decree of how great or small of an income he will have throughout his lifetime. On 31b the gemara says that the newborn child likewise brings blessing into his parents' income. This can be a blessing of comfortable income or at least enough to live on. However, the gemara Kidushin 82b says that if one behaves badly enough he can impact negatively upon his income, reducing it in varying degrees. Thus when a woman gives birth her family might either have some wealth or at least minimal income, but not penury. When one swears falsely he has sinned grievously, as the gemara Shvuos 39a says, that the sin of swearing falsely brings in its wake destruction of the world. This sinner can often be in the position of abject poverty, hence there are two levels of poor offerings. (Midbar Ko'deish)

Ch. 13, v. 4: "V'hisgir haKohein es ha'nega" - And the Kohein shall lock up the "nega" - There is a disagreement whether the word "ha'nega" means the actual affliction, meaning that it be demarcated with a mark encircling it, or whether it means the afflicted person, and the word "nega" is used because the affliction has become one with his persona (see Haksav V'hakaboloh). If we follow the interpretation that it means the afflicted person, why doesn't the verse clearly state "hanogua?" The Torah is teaching us that the Kohein who has come to assess the affliction should judge only the affliction and not the person. He should not take into account that the "nogua" is either his friend or the opposite. He should only view the "nega." (Tiferes Ovos)

Ch. 13, v. 41: "Yimo'reit rosho" - His head will be plucked - This simply means that he becomes bald on the front. Did you ever wonder why almost all men become bald and most women don't? The Ibn Ezra comments on these words that the Torah does not mention this phenomenon by a woman because women have much more moisture in their bodies than men do. In turn they do not become bald. He adds that hair is like grass, which thrives where there is moisture.

Ch. 13, v. 59: "Zose toras nega tzoraas" - This is the law of an affliction - The Baal Haturim says that the word form Torah appears in the laws of "tzoraas" five times. This alludes to the five volumes of the Torah, indicating that one who speaks loshon hora is equated to one who has transgressed all five of these volumes. The Tzemach Dovid page 223a writes that there are five manners of loshon hora.

1)Through only having spoken - Corresponding to this birds, which have the nature to chirp, are brought.

2)Through walking to reach the person or persons to whom he wishes to convey the loshon hora - Corresponding to this the purifying process includes the placement of blood on his large toe.

3)Through hearing the loshon hora - Corresponding to this blood is placed on his earlobe.

4)When someone hears loshon hora and does not raise his hand to protest - Corresponding to this blood is placed upon his thumb.

5)Through speaking loshon hora in a covert manner where it seems that nothing negative is being said, while in truth much damage might result - About such a person the verse says, "Raku dvorov mishemen" (T'hilim 55:22) - Corresponding to this oil is poured, which makes no sound.

Four of the five aspects require blood, as he who speaks loshon hora is equated to one who spills blood, while the covert loshon hora causes no immediate pain and is symbolized by the pouring of oil, as was just explained, that it too is poured with no sound being emitted. (Chid"o in Midbar K'deimos)



See also Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha, Chasidic Insights and Chamisha Mi Yodei'a

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