Oroh V'Simchoh

Meshech Chochmoh
on the Weekly Parsha

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by Zvi Akiva Fleisher

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Ch. 12, v. 6: "U'vimlos y'mei tohoroh l'vein o l'vas" - Earlier in verse 2 the son who is born is called "zochor," and in verse 5 the daughter is called "n'keivoh." Only here does the verse call them a "ben" or a "bas." The Meshech Chochmoh explains this with the gemara Shabbos 135b, which says that until a newborn reaches the age of 30 days he does not yet have the status of a viable person, a "bar ka'yomo," as unfortunately, numerous children die shortly after their birth. A baby who has not achieved the status of viability does not have the title "ben," as per the gemara Nozir 13a. However, in our verse when the mother has passed the time of her purity, 33 days after the initial impurity stage of 7 days after having given birth, a total of 40 days, the newborn is well past 30 days old and is a viable child, hence the title "ben" or "bas."

Ch. 12, v. 6: "U'ven yonoh o sore l'chatos" - Wherever the Torah mentions a young dove and a mature turtledove as a sacrifice, the Torah mentions the turtledove first. Why is the order changed here? The Baal Haturim answers that in the other places two birds are brought. This gives us the possibility that the sacrificial pair of birds might be a couple that has mated. However, in our verse, but one bird is used as a sacrifice. The gemara Eiruvin and the P'sikto Zut'r'so Vayikroh 1:14 both say that the turtledove has such a high level of fidelity to its mate that if its mate dies or is captured it no longer seeks another mate for the rest of its life. Since only one is taken this would leave a lone mate living out the rest of its days in utter solitude. The Torah therefore mentions taking a young dove first, as the preferable choice. The Meshech Chochmoh asks why even a woman of financial means brings a bird as an atonement offering and not a lamb or goat, as is the case with one who is required to bring a chatos offering.

He answers that the reason a woman requires atonement altogether after giving birth is because we assume that during the severe pangs of labour pains in the birthing process the mother has vowed to never become pregnant again. Obviously this cannot be fulfilled, as a woman has the responsibility of having marital relations with her husband. She therefore has to bring an atonement for this vow which is an act of rebellion against her husband. As just mentioned above, the turtledove has the nature of having total fidelity and commitment to its partner. The Torah therefore requires of the woman who has given birth and vowed to not have relations with her husband again, to learn a lesson from the turtledove, which is totally committed to its partner.

Ch. 13, v. 3: "V'ro'oh haKohen es ha'nega .. v'ro'ohu haKohein v'ti'mei oso" - And the Kohein shall see the affliction .. and the Kohein shall see it/him and the Kohein shall declare him defiled - Since the beginning of the verse tells us that the Kohein sees an affliction that has the signs of impurity, shouldn't the verse end by only saying "v'ti'mei oso"? Seemingly, the words "v'ro'ohu haKohein" are redundant.

The first words of this verse tell the Kohein to view the affliction and to decide if it has the characteristics of a defiling "nega." Once the Kohein has concluded that it has, he must now look at the person, "v'ro'ohu," to see if he is to be judged as defiled. There are some exceptions, where even if the person has definite signs of a "nega to'mei," nevertheless he is not to be rendered defiled, such as a newlywed during his 7 days of rejoicing (gemara M.K. 8a). (MESHECH CHOCHMOH)


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