Divrei HaRav

Tazria - Metzora / תזריע - מצורע

Tazria - Metzora / תזריע - מצורע

Rashi explains that, if one did not have both signs of צרעת, and he is quarantined for the week, if the white on the skin does not diminish, that person is deemed a מצורע. The רמב"ן counters that the Gemora implies only if it should spread. ר' משה ז"ל suggests that Rashi, perhaps, is reading into the simple p’shat of the possuk. Although it is not the real interpretation, it is at least implied to be a lesson to us. The spreading indicates the ill effect one has upon a friend when he does not conduct himself properly. The sign of not spreading, but also not diminishing is a reference to one who is also a מצורע and must be thought of as such, but since he doesn’t affect others, he doesn’t receive the full punishment of isolation, etc. So the Torah has driven home this message by its choice of words.

The Chofetz Chaim once gave a pithy moshol about the power of the tongue to convolute ones actions or to control ones actions. A person enters a factory which has 248 different pieces of machinery. After being impressed by all the ingenious work of the machinery and also the expense, he is shown the most important machine, which is the power source for all the other machines. So, he said, the tongue is the power switch for all our limbs and controls all our actions.

The possuk implies that if the צרעת spreads over the whole body the person is, on the contrary, טהור. It seems to defy logic. The אזנים לתורה offers a solution. There is an internal sickness called צרעת and there are the external signs of צרעת which indicate a spiritual dilemma. For a person to have every limb filled with צרעת indicating that he has no mitzvos, nothing positive to redeem, at least one limb, is hard to believe. Every Jew has some mitzvos. Therefore we attribute the malady to a real sickness, not a spiritual one.

The Zohar relates that one who is not careful with oneg on Shabbos will cause a reversal of the letters to spell “negah”, or tzoraas. The Sfas Emes traces the letters to “Eden” “Na’har” “Gan” the reference to Adam being placed to guard the Gan Eden. Likewise man is to be in control of his mind, body and speech. Therefore, part of the purification process of the metzora is to sprinkle onto the hand, ear, and foot to dedicate his whole being to restoration of their sanctity. So also the opposite of the “closing” or quarantine of the metzora is the expansion on Shabbos of the Neshama to include the Neshama Yesira, the extra neshama of Shabbos.

Possuk 33 is the possuk directing the one whom has tzoraas on the place of hair to shave around it. This could alude to the custom to shave on the 33rd day of the Omer. The “Gimmel” is large alluding to the three days before Shavuos when some have the custom to complete their sfira and shave. The psukim 13-14-15 have 49 words referring to the custom not to shave the entire time of sfira. (Pardes Yosef)

The Chasam Sofer explains the need for the process of the birds and all the karbonos even after the metzora has experienced the pain and humility of the sickness itself. He says that since the person did not initiate his own path of tshuva but rather needed the intervention of Hashem and His punishment, for that alone he requires an extra and added atonement, supplied by the purification process.

Rashi emphasizes the fact that the creatures were created before man to temper the arrogance of man – “see even the fly was before you”. On the other hand, man was created with a “prepared table” - a complete world at his disposal. The Ksav Sofer explains. The Mishna says “one who honors the Torah, he is honored by the creatures”. In reality the animals are stronger, faster and more independent than man. In this respect mankind has difficulty in boasting. However, man has a higher and nobler calling. His is the task of perfection through performance of Torah and mitzvos. This then is the meaning. One who honors the Torah is automatically elevated over all the other creatures. However, if he chooses to follow their lifestyle then, we say to him, even the fly was created superior.



Previous Parshos

Tazria Metzora Achrei Mos Kedoshim Emor Behar Bechukosai Bamidbar Shavuos Naso Behalosicha Shilach Korach Chukas-Balak Pinchos Matos-Masei Devorim Voeschonon Ekev Reah Shoftim Ki Seitzei Ki Savo Nitzovim - Vayelech Rosh HaShana Haazinu-Yom Kippur Sukkos V'zos HaBrocha Breishis