by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS METZORA 5774 BS"DCh. 14, v. 2: "Zose ti'h'yeh toras hamtzora" - This shall be the law of the leper - Rashi says that his remedy is to lower himself and be humble. He brought the skin affliction upon himself by being haughty and speaking disparagingly of others. Let him be humble and be healed. The word "ti'h'yeh" seems superfluous. Our Rabbis in numerous places in the gemara derive from the word form of being, "havayoh," that a situation must be or will be permanent, "b'havoyoso y'hei." Here too, his lowering himself is not sufficient if all it is, is a medium to heal himself of the affliction and then back to business as usual. "Ti'h'yeh," it must be permanent. (Shem miShmuel)
Ch. 14, v. 14: "V'lokach haKohein midam ho'oshim" - And the Kohein shall take of the blood of the guilt offering - He places the blood on the bottom tip of the ear, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the afflicted person. These three locations symbolize his wrongdoing. He could have closed his ears with his ear lobe, he used his finger movements to enhance his negative speech, and he walked to his audience. In truth, he should have also had blood placed onto his tongue, which spoke negatively, but he might swallow prohibited blood. (Eitz Hadaas Tov)
Ch. 14, v. 17: "Al dam ho'oshom" - When the Torah repeats the procedure by the sacrifice of the poor man we find "al M'KOME dam ho'oshom" in verse 28. Why does the Torah add the word M'KOME? The responsa Binyan Shlomo by Rabbi Shlomo haKohein of Vilna in the name of his teacher Rabbi Yaakov Barit answers that the gemara Z'vochim 44a says that one may bring his "oshom" sacrifice one day and its accompanying oil offering as late as ten days later. However, it is preferable to bring it the same day.
Since our verse discusses the sacrifice of a wealthy man, there is no doubt that he will bring the accompanying oil on the same day, as this is preferable. When some of it is placed on the prescribed parts of his body after blood of the "oshom" sacrifice was already placed there, it will be placed "al dam ho'oshom," onto the blood which was just recently placed there. Verse 28 discusses the sacrifice of the poor "metzoroh." He barely scraped together enough money to bring the "oshom" sacrifice. He will have to work or collect funds for the accompanying oil and when that is achieved he will return a few days later to complete the ritual of the oil. By that time the blood of the "oshom" sacrifice will already be wiped off his body and the oil will be placed "al M'KOME dam ho'oshom," - on the PLACE where the blood of the "oshom" was.
Ch. 14, v. 20: "V'CHI'PER olov" - Once again we see a variation in terminology between the verses describing the bringing of the rich man's sacrifices and the poor man's sacrifices where it says in verse 29 "L'CHA'PEIR olov." The Meshech Chochmoh and Oznayim laTorah both explain this with the above-mentioned gemara Arochin 16a. It says that one of the causes for "tzoraas" is haughtiness. It is common for a wealthy man to be haughty. Although haughtiness is a characteristic that is to be despised and that one should distance himself from greatly (Pikei Ovos 4:4), nevertheless it is the nature of a wealthy person to have this flaw, as stated in Dvorim 8:13,14, "V'chesef v'zohov yirbeh loch, V'rom l'vovcho." His sin is not as severe as that of a "dal gei'eh," a pauper who is arrogant and supercilious. The gemara P'sochim 113b says that such a person is an abomination in the eyes of Hashem and man.
Therefore the Torah says "V'CHI'PER olov" by the wealthy person, indicating that he receives full atonement. The poor person also receives atonement after going through the prescribed procedures. However, there is still a need for great introspection and character improvement. The Torah therefore expresses itself with the words "L'CHA'PEIR olov" to indicate with the letter Lamed, meaning TOWARDS bringing atonement, that this is only a step in the direction of full atonement.
The Oznayim laTorah adds that this explains why by the description of the "tzoraas" afflicting the wealthy man it says "Zose ti'h'yeh toras ha'metzoroh" (14:2), and by the poor man it says "Zose toras asher BO nega tzoro'as." The poor man has the "tzoraas," the cause for this affliction, imbedded within him.
Ch. 14, v. 20: "V'chi'peir olov haKohein v'to'heir" - And the Kohein will cleanse him and he will become pure - Even if he has gone through the complete process of purifying he is not pure. This can last for years. He needs the Kohein uttering that he is pure to complete the process. (Tosefta N'go'im)
Ch. 14, v. 35: "K'nega nir'eh li baboyis" - A resemblance to an affliction appears to me in the house - It is only LIKE a nega. If fact it is an atonement for his sins or a medium for finding hidden treasures buried in the walls. (Glil zohov citing the GR"A)
Ch. 14, v. 40: "V'hishlichu es'hen el michitz lo'ir el mokome to'mei" - And they shall throw them to outside the city to a defiled place - This is true even if the city was not walled. The expulsion of the metzora was only done if he lived in a walled city. (Toras Kohanim)
Ch. 14, v. 43: "V'im yoshuv ha'nega" - And if the affliction will return - Then the house is to be razed. This is true even if the affliction appeared in a different area of the house, and even if it was of a different colour. This is because the house has become so defiled that it cannot be purified, notwithstanding the variations of the afflictions. (Ramban)
Ch. 14, v. 54: "Zose haTorah l'chol nega hatzoraas" - This is the law for every leprosy affliction - This Torah is the remedy for all afflictions. This Torah, when studied, provides atonement just as a sin offering does. The holy Torah is a remedy for all maladies. (Degel Machaneh Efrayim)
Ch. 14, v. 57: "L'horos b'yom hato'mei uvyom hatohor" - And to give a ruling on a day that the person is defiled and on a day that he is pure - "L'horos" teaches us that when the officiating Kohein goes to rule on a seeming nega that he bring along student Kohanim to learn the intricacies. Although this makes a bit of a public spectacle of the afflicted person, and we do not do this with other matters, here, where if he is defiled it is often the result of his verbal insult of another, he too eventually will come to purification with this component of embarrassment as part of the procedure. (N'tzi"v)
Ch. 15, v. 15: "V'ossoh osom haKohein" - And the Kohein should process them - Here by the offerings to purify a three time emission the Torah says that one Kohein should process both the oloh and the chatos. This minimizes the involvement of numerous people, and in turn the embarrassment of the defiled person. By the rituals to purify the metzora there are three offerings and a few Kohanim involved. Hashem wants the person to have his condition publicized, as we find that when he is in the public arena he is to call out "tomei tomei." This embarrassment is part of his remedy. (Meshech Chochmoh)
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