by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS TAZRIA-METZOROH 5761 BS"D
L'ILUY NISHMAS OVI MORI R' CHAIM B"R SIMCHOH Z"L HK"M
Ch. 12, v. 3: "U'vayom hashmini yimole b'sar orloso" - The Baal Haturim points out that the number of words and the number of letters in our verse, six and twenty-three respectively, are equal to the number of words and letters in the verse "Va'y'chulu hashomayim v'ho'oretz v'chol tz'vo'om" (Breishis 2:1). He says that this alludes to the ruling that circumcision on the eighth day since the birth of a child pushes aside the restrictions of Shabbos. Upon counting the letters in Breishis 2:1 you will find only 22 letters. However, the text of the Baal Haturim seems to have a letter Vov between the Chof and the Lamed of the word "Va'y'chulu," as is the text of Breishis 2:1 as printed in the Baal Haturim's commentary on our verse. Perhaps we can say that there is another message here as well. The gemara N'dorim 31b says circumcision is a mitzvoh of such great magnitude that if not for this mitzvoh, Hashem would not have created the world, as is stated in the Prophet Yirmiyohu 33:25, "Im lo vrisi yomom volayloh chukose shomayim vo'oretz lo samti."
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Yimole" - The Ibn Ezra says that the "mokor," three letter infinitive form, of this verb is Mem-Vov-Lamed (Ayin-Vov verb), and the word "yimole" is in the "nifal" (recipient of the verb action) tense, or the infinitive is Nun-Mem'Lamed ("chasrei" Pei-Nun verb), and the word "nimole" is in the "kal" (simple verb) tense. If so, he adds, the verse left out who is the circumciser.
Ch. 12, v. 3: "Yimole b'sar orloso" - Compare these words with Shmos 12:44 "umalto OSO" regarding the circumcision of a slave, and Shmos 12:48 "himole LO" regarding the circumcision of a convert. It seems that in our verse which discusses the circumcision of an eight day old child, our verse points out that the foreskin is cut, while with the slave and the convert, the verses point out that circumcision is done to his entirety, OSO and LO. The Chasam Sofer explains that the coarse negative physicality present in a Jewish child is limited to the foreskin, the area of great physical lust. Therefore it is only the "orloh" that is being circumcised. Not so regarding the slave and the convert. Their inborn nature is one of total coarseness and pursuit of physicality, "orlas ha'leiv." When they have a circumcision performed in the process of becoming a full-fledged Jew their whole essence is being elevated, thus one circumcises HIM, not just his foreskin.
With this concept he explains why it is permitted to perform circumcision upon one's child even when there is "tzoraas" on the foreskin, and with the procedure it will be removed, an action otherwise explicitly prohibited by the Torah, as stated, "Hisho'mer b'nega hatzoraas lishmore m'ode" (Dvorim 24:8). Tzoraas when it appears on a non-Jew does not affect his status. Only a Jew, a person who has an elevated spiritual level is negatively affected by "tzoraas", a clear sign from Hashem that something is amiss in his spiritual level. A non-Jew has no restrictions upon removal of the "tzoraas".
Similarly, the one location on a Jewish male's body that is negative to the point that it must be removed is the foreskin. This is the non-Jewish part of his body, and may be removed, similar to the ruling of a non-Jew who may remove "tzoraas" from any place on his body.
The Chasam Sofer's basic point can be corroborated with the words of the gemara N'dorim 31b. One who vows to receive no benefit from a non-circumcised person may receive benefit from a non-circumcised ben Yisroel, as he is part of a nation that circumcises itself, but may not receive benefit from a non-Jew, even if he is circumcised, as the verse states, "Ki chol hagoyim a'reilim" (Yirmiyohu 9:25). I have come upon another verse that also shows this point, "Kol ben neichor erel leiv v'erel bosor" (Y'chezkeil 44:9).
Ch. 12, v. 6: "Ke'ves ben shnosO" - The gemara Eiruvin 18b brings these words as a proof that the age requirement of any sacrifice by which is stated "ben shonoh" or a similar term is not that a calendar New Year has passed, but rather that the animal's age is within ITS first year, "shnosO." The Ibn Ezra says that actually there is no indication from the word "shnosO" that it is within the animal's first year, as the word "shnosO" could just as easily indicate that the animal has lived through a year of ITS life. The intention of the gemara, he says, is that there is a tradition that this is the rule, and it fits into the words of this verse but is not a proof.
Mahari"l Diskin says that there is a logical proof that the verse cannot mean to be telling us that the animal lived through a full year to comply with the age requirement of "ben shnoso." Since the animal would have to be at least a year old, why does the Torah need to tell us that any animal sacrifice must be at least eight days old, "U'miyom hashmini voholoh yeirotzeh l'korban isheh laShem" (Vayikroh 22:27)?
Ch. 13, v. 45: "V'rosho y'h'yeh forua" - Targum Onkelos translates, "V'reishei y'hi fria." However, Targum Yonoson ben Uziel translates "Meira'bei peirua." When the same word form appeared earlier in Vayikroh 10:6 on the words "rosheichem al tifro'u," Targum Onkelos translated it "loh s'rabun peirua," similar to Targum Yonoson ben Uziel in our verse? Why does Targum Onkelos change? "Porua" means unkempt, disheveled. "Meira'bei" and "t'rabun" mean growing large (long). The gemara Mo'eid Koton 15a tells of a disagreement between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Akiva regarding a person who is excommunicated and a "metzoroh." Rabbi Eliezer posits that they are forbidden to take a haircut, while Rabbi Akiva holds that they are permitted to do so. Onkelos was a student of Rabbi Eliezer. Upon Rabbi Eliezer's death, Onkelos became a student of Rabbi Akiva. Since he was a student of both he did not want to translate "forua" as growing long hair, since this means a prohibition against taking a haircut, which was in dispute between his two teachers. To maintain neutral ground he translated this word in our verse as "pria." Back in Vayikroh 10:6 the verse discusses the death of the children of Aharon and tells him to not react with the normal restraints of a mourner to grow his hair long, as he was exempt from the haircutting restriction. It is understood that the verse means hair growing long, so Targum Onkelos translated "al tifro'u" as "loh s'rabun peirua," do not let it grow long. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel and Rashi translate "forua" in our verse as "growing long" since the halacha is like Rabbi Eliezer that a "metzoroh" is forbidden to cut his hair. (Nefesh Ha'geir)
Ch. 14, v. 2: "V'huvo el haKohein" - The word "v'huvo" is spelled Vov-Hei-Vov-Veis-Alef. These same letters when switched around spell "v'ohuv," - and beloved. When a person finds a celestially sent skin disorder upon his body and realizes that it is a clear message that something is amiss with his spiritual situation, if he goes to the Kohein in an attempt to correct himself, it is a step on the road to repentance. The Rambam in hilchos teshuvoh 7:6 says that when a person repents from his sins, although until now he was hated ("sonuy") by Hashem, he drastically changes his status and is now loved ("ohuv") by Hashem. When one is brought, "v'huvo," to the Kohein with the intention to mend his ways, he becomes "v'ohuv." (Chomas Anoch by the Chid"o)
Ch. 14, v. 4: "Shtei tziporim chayos t'horos" - Rashi (gemara Chulin 140a) says that we derive from the word "chayos" that the birds may not be "treifos," birds that have an injury that will be fatal, as this contravenes "chayos," alive. From the word "t'horos" we derive that the bird may not be of a non-kosher species. The Mahara"l of Prague asks why Rashi mentions BIRDS, plural, in the ruling of not "treifos," and BIRD, singular, in the ruling of not non-kosher. Indeed, the L'vush says that the text in Rashi is not accurate and should be plural in both cases. He brings a proof for this from the text of the Sifra (1:12), which mentions both rulings in the plural. (The GR"A edits the text differently and totally leaves out the ruling of exclusion of non-kosher birds being derived from "t'horos," as per the gemara Chulin 140a.)
Rabbi Shlomo haKohein of Vilna explains both the text of the Sifra and Rashi without the change suggested by the L'vush. As mentioned in verse 5, one of the two birds is slaughtered, while the other bird is let loose to fly away, as mentioned in verse 7. Since the Torah requires slaughtering of one of the birds it is self evident that that bird must be of a kosher species, as "shechitoh," proper ritual slaughtering, can only take place on a kosher species of bird (gemara Chulin 80b). Thus the exclusion of a non-kosher bird only is needed for the bird that will be left alive, and that is why Rashi uses the singular form.
This is true according to the opinion that birds require ritual slaughtering to be kosher for consumption. However, Rabbi Yehudoh in the gemara Chulin 27b posits that the Torah does not require ritual slaughtering for birds, and it is only a Rabbinical decree. Although the Torah requires one of the birds to be slaughtered, this must be understood as a unique requirement for the purifying process of the "metzoroh." We can therefore assume that the Torah may use the word form "shechitoh" even for a non-kosher bird species. The exclusion therefore applies to both birds, even the slaughtered one. The Sifra uses the plural BIRDS because the author of Sifra is Rabbi Yehudoh as per the gemara Sanhedrin 86a. The halacha is not like Rabbi Yehudoh, and birds require proper ritual slaughtering by Torah law. Rashi explains the exclusion according to halacha, thus the bird that is to be slaughtered is obviously of a kosher species, and the exclusion is needed for only one BIRD.
PLEASE NOTE: Last week's transmission was cut short and the following was left out: Ch. 11, v. 20: "Sheketz hu lochem" - This verse prohibits the eating of flying insects. Targum Yonoson ben Uziel writes on these words, "b'ram duvsho d'ziboro yisocheil," - however honey of a bee may be eaten. The gemara B'choros 7b derives this from the opening words of the next verse, "Es zeh tochlu." Rabbi Akiva says that since these words are on the heels of the prohibition of our verse, we may deduce that although eating insects is prohibited, that which they excrete, honey, may be eaten. There may also be an allusion to this within our verse, which says "haholeich al Arba Sheketz Hu lochem." The first letters of "Arba Sheketz Hu" are Alef-Shin-Hei, whose numerical value equals that of DVASH, 306. Regarding DVASH the next word of the verse is "lochem," it is permitted for you.
Ch. 11, v. 32: "Yitmo .. o veged o ore o sok" - This verse discusses the defilement and purification of vessels or garments made of different materials. Garments have a minimum size requirement to be able to contract impurity. The sizes vary according to the materials. Cloth must be at least three fist-breadths square, leather five fist-breadths square, and coarse sackcloth four fist-breadths square. This is alluded to in the names of the materials themselves. The numerical value of BeGeD, Beis-Gimel-Dalet is 9, three fist-breadths squared. The word ORE, Ayin-Vov-Reish is an acronym for Esrim V'chamishoh Rivu'im, 25 fist-breadths, the total of 5 fist-breadths squared. The word SoK, spelled Sin-Kuf, has the numerical value of 400. Its minimum size of four fist-breadths square is equal to 20x20 finger-breadths, or 400 finger-breadths squared, as a fist-breadth equals 5 finger-breadths. (Taamo Dikro)
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