by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS METZOROH - SHABBOS HAGODOL 5760 BS"D
Ch. 14, v. 4: "Shtei TZIPORIM" - There are two words in the Torah for a bird, OFE, as in Breishis 1:21, and TZIPORE, in our verse. What is the difference between these two?
1) The Sifri says that the term OFE can be used for either a kosher or non-kosher species of bird, while the term TZIPORE is used only for a kosher species. (There seems to be a bit of difficulty with this from the verse "Kol tzipor T'HOROH tocheilu" (Dvorim 14:11.) Perhaps this might be the source for the Sifri.)
2) The Ibn Ezra says they are one and the same and can be used interchangeably.
3) The Ramban says that OFE is a general name for birds, while TZIPORE is used specifically for birds that have the nature of chirping early in the morning. TZAFRO is Aramaic for morning.
Ch.14, v. 4: "V'eitz erez u'shni solaas v'eizove" - These same ingredients are used in the processing of the red heifer, the "poroh adumoh." However, in Bmidbar 19:6 we find them listed in a different order, "Eitz erez v'eizove u'shni solo'as." Rabbi Chaim Kanievski shlit"a in Taamo Dikro explains this with the words of the Rambam in hilchos dei'os 2:2 and Shmonoh Prokim 1:5. He says that when a bad character trait has found refuge in the heart of a person and he would like to uproot it he should behave in the other extreme until he feels that it has left him. Only then may he take a normal middle of the road approach to that trait.
The gemara Arochin 16a lists seven reasons for Hashem afflicting one with "tzoraas." One reason is for being haughty. The Torah teaches us that if one feels haughty and as elevated as a cedar tree, "eitz erez," let him lower himself like a worm, "shni solaas." This is the advice of the Rambam to go to the other extreme.
Therefore the Torah in our parsha places the "shni solaas" directly after the"eitz erez." This is not the theme of "poroh adumoh" and there the list is in the logical order, descending by size of each item.
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 t'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. 21: "V'im dal hu" - Although a wealthy man should not bring the atonement sacrifices prescribed for a poor man, nevertheless, if he did so it provides him with atonement. The gemara Yoma 41b says that there is an exception by the sacrifices of a "metzoroh" where it does not atone. This is derived from the word "ZOSE," in 14:2, indicating "exactly this" and no variation.
Why does the Torah treat the "metzoroh oshir" different from all others who are wealthy and bring a poor man's sacrifice?
The Meshech Chochmoh answers that since the gemara Yoma 11b says that the cause for "tzoraas" is being stingy, if the wealthy man is still stingy and brings the less costly sacrifice that is designated for a poor man, he obviously has not repented and is afforded no atonement, "toveil v'sheretz b'yodo." The Meshech Chochmoh offers two other brilliant answers. They can be found in his commentary on 14:51.
Ch. 14, v. 21: "U'VO asher lo haba'yis" - "U'VO" means "And he shall come." In last week's parsha dealing with the affliction of the body, the Torah says "V'HUVO" (13:2), meaning "And he shall be brought."
The Sheima Shlomo, the Holy Rabbi Shlomo haLevi of Karlin explains this difference with the words of the M.R. 17:4. Hashem first sends afflictions to one's house, "ni'gei batim." If the owner "gets the message" and repents there is no need for further Celestial action. If this doesn't strike a chord, then Hashem sends afflictions to one's garments, with which one clothes his body, striking closer. Again, if there is a positive response things will go no further. If both of these messages don't help, then Hashem attacks the person with afflictions on his body proper.
Our verse discusses "nigei batim," afflictions which come onto one's home. If the person is motivated, he will willingly COME, "U'VO." He gets the message with the first knock on his door. The verse in 13:2 discusses the person who has not reacted and has already had "tzoraas" visit his home and his apparel. Now he has the "tzoraas" appear on his body. He is unmoved or it would never have come to this point. He does not willingly go to the Kohein. He must be BROUGHT, "V'HUVO."
Ch. 14, v. 35 "K'nega niroh li baboyis" - Rashi quotes the mishneh in N'go'im 12:5. Even if one is a scholar and is knowledgeable in the viewing and ruling of "tzoraas," he should not say that he is sure that his house has a "nega," but rather say that something is visible in his house that looks LIKE a "nega." The Tal'lei Oros explains that since a person is afflicted by "tzoraas" because he is arrogant (gemara Arochin 16a), even a scholar should not be haughty and say that he is sure he has a "nega" in his home.
Tosfos Yom Tov, a major commentator on Mishna'yos, asks, "Why is there a prohibition to say that he has sighted a 'nega?' His words have no effect. The laws of a 'nega' are totally contingent upon the verbalisation of a Kohein only?" He therefore explains the words of the above-mentioned mishneh with the ruling, "Al tiftach peh l'soton." One should not tempt fate by verbalising something negative about himself, in this case that he has a "nega tzoraas" in his home.
There seems to be a difficulty with the words of the Tosfos Yom Tov. The gemara Brochos 19a derives from the words of the Prophet Yeshayohu 1:9, "Kimat KiSdom hoyinu laAmoroh diminu," that one should not tempt Satan. We see from this verse that one tempts Satan even when he expresses himself with the KOF "hadimyone," - the KOF of comparison. If so, what is gained by saying "K'nega" rather than "nega?" Answer next parsha be"H.
Ch. 14, v. 51: "V'hizoh el haba'yis" - The Toras Kohanim 5:14 says that the Kohein should sprinkle the mixture onto the lintel (the horizontal upper door post) of the house. The Meshech Chochmoh explains this with the gemara Yoma 11b, which says that a "nega" that appears on a house is caused by stinginess, as indicated by the words "Asher LO haba'yis" (14:35). The house is only for HIS use, and he does not lend household vessels to others, claiming that he has none to lend. The "nega" forces him to remove his vessels (verse 36) and all see that he has many vessels. A "nega" that appears on one's body is caused by loshon hora.
The gemara K'suvos 5b says that one should not listen to loshon hora. If he hears someone speaking loshon hora he has the physical tools to block it from entering his ears. He may either place the tips of his smallest fingers into his ears, or (if he is learning Torah at the time and by placing his fingers into his ears he will defile his hands and require cleansing them, thus causing "bitul Torah") press his ear lobes into the ear canal, effectively blocking out inappropriate audio reception.
This is the reason the Torah requires placing blood of the sacrifice and oil onto his ear lobes and fingers, to remind him that had he made use of these tools and blocked out the words of loshon hora, he would not have become a "metzoroh."
Similarly, says the Meshech Chochmoh, the medrash tells us that the sprinkling of the mixture onto the house is specifically aimed at the lintel of the doorway, to indicate that the owner should not have his door locked, but rather have it wide open for guests and lending of vessels.
Ch. 14, v. 54: "Zose haTorah l'chol nega hatzoraas" - The words of the M.R. 17:4 were mentioned above. Hashem first brings the "nega" upon the house and then upon the garments, and finally upon one's body. If so, why do the laws of the first and third type of "nega" appear in the Torah in the reverse order? Rabbeinu Bachyei answers that the "paths of the Torah are pleasant" (Mishlei 3:17). Hashem did not want to list the afflictions in an order that increases in severity.
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