Chamishoh Mi Yo'dei'a

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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1) Ch. 12, v. 2: "V'tomoh shivas yomim" - Upon giving birth to a daughter she is defiled double this time (verse 5). Why?

2) Ch. 12, v. 2: "V'tomoh shivas yomim" - And she will be defiled for seven days - According to the opinion in the gemara Krisus 10a that 'Ee efshar lifsichas m'kore b'lo dam,' it is impossible for the cervix of the uterus to open without expelling blood, any woman who gives birth has expelled blood. If so, why when giving birth to a male does the Torah give us the ruling that the woman is defiled for 7 days? She is defiled for the same 7 days irrespective of the birth by virtue of becoming a "nidoh," since she expelled blood.

3) Ch. 13, v. 2: "Odom ki yi'h'yeh v'ore b'soro" -M.R. Vayikra 17:4 says that Hashem does not go for the jugular vein immediately, but rather, He punishes in a lighter manner first, with the hope that the person gets the message, and if not, only then does He increase the punishment, and this is why first a "nega" is sent upon the house, then the garment, and finally upon the body. Yet, we find the order of the Torah in the reverse.


4) Ch. 14, v. 21: "V'ein yodo ma'se'ges" - And his hand does not attain - Why is his inability to bring a regular offering expressed in the present tense "ein ma'se'ges," while by the woman who cannot afford a regular offering after childbirth the verse expresses it in the future tense, "v'im lo simtzo"?

5) Ch. 14, v. 35: "K'nega" - Like an affliction - The mishnoh N'go'im 12:5 says that even if the person whose house was afflicted is a Torah scholar, nevertheless he should not give the conclusive ruling that his house has a true defiling "nega," but rather, at most he should say that it looks LIKE a "nega," and leave the final ruling for the Kohein. Since he is a Torah scholar why shouldn't he be allowed to rule?



1) A woman goes through extreme difficulty to reproduce, especially the final birthing pains. She regrets having been pregnant. This negative mood is the basis for the defilement period. When she brings a son into this world her regret is short-lived and a week later she is ready for purification. When she has a daughter, her pregnancy and birthing pains are more difficult. Finally, her happiness with the birth of a daughter pales. Hence she requires double the time before she is ready to become purified. (Tzror Hamor)

2) It is a physical phenomenon that the formation of a male in her womb takes half the time as that of a female (Have things changed in recent centuries?), hence the same ratio of difference in time until she is pure. (Chizkuni)


The Moshav Z'keinim asks this and offers three answers:

1) If not for stating that the defilement lasts for 7 days only I might incorrectly say that she is defiled for 14 days, based on a "kal vochomer" from the ruling by giving birth to a girl.

2) If she gave birth during the time in her cycle when expelling blood would give her the status of a "zovoh," and not a "nidoh," we might incorrectly say that she is only defiled for that one day, as is the ruling by a "zovoh."

3) If she already had been flowing menstrual blood we might incorrectly say that this new blood is inconsequential, and when a total of 7 days pass from the beginning of her flow, she may purify herself in a mikveh, as is the basic Torah ruling.

All three of these answers are alluded to in the words of our verse. "Ki'mei nidas d'vosoh" excludes her being defiled for 14 days. She is defiled like a "nidoh," seven, and not fourteen days. These same words exclude giving her the rules of a "zovoh," for only that one day. Rather she has defilement "ki'mei NIDAS d'vosoh." Likewise, we do not say that the blood released is just a continuation of her "nidoh" status if she was already a "nidoh." Rather she starts from scratch, "ki'mei nidas d'vosoh." (Taamo Dikro)


Hashem warns with the toughest punishment mentioned first, just as we find that Hashem told Moshe to relate to Paroh that if he would not willingly send the bnei Yisroel free he would eventually have the plague of death of the firstborn visited upon his country (Shmos 4:23), but carries out punishments from the lighter to the harsher (Nachal K'dumim, Kli Yokor)


Perhaps our verse alludes to the aspect of repentance done when the metzora brings his offering. The gemara Arochin 16a lists a number of causes for tzoraas. Among them is stinginess. If this is the cause for tzoraas, besides bringing the offering, the metzora must also repent for his having been stingy in the past. It is very likely that Hashem has made him poor in the manner of repayment in kind, "midoh k'ne'ged midoh." Since he does not share his wealth with others, Hashem takes it away and he is poor. Thus, when he is in the process of repenting and bringing his offerings, the Torah says that he PRESENTLY cannot attain the more costly offering, as once he will repent and be more generous, Hashem in kind will likely shower more income upon him, hence he cannot afford it at the present time only. (Nirreh li)


1) He should not verbalize that his house has a "nega" so as not to tempt fate, "al tiftach peh l'soton" (gemara Brochos 19a). (Tosfos Yom Tov)

2) Since the Torah has given the responsibility to rule in this type of matter to a Kohein, even a Torah scholar may not infringe upon the Kohein, similar to the prohibition against ruling a Torah law in front of one's teacher, "moreh halacha bifnei rabo." (Torah Temimoh)



See also Sedrah Selections, Oroh V'Simchoh - Meshech Chochmoh on the Weekly Parsha and Chasidic Insights

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