APRIL 15-16, 2005 7 NISAN 5765
"He shall be brought to the Kohen" (Vayikra 14:2)
In the beginning of our perashah we encounter a seeming contradiction. First it states that the mesora will be brought to the Kohen and immediately following this, the next verse states that the Kohen will go to the mesora, who is outside the camp. The Seforno says that there is no contradiction. It means that the Kohen will go outside the camp, but the mesora will also be brought to the outskirts of the camp so it would be easier for the Kohen. There are a number of important ideas here.
The Sifteh Cohen writes that the Kohen must go out to the mesora in order to give the stricken man honor. The mesora was sent outside the camp in a public humiliation. The mesora was a gossiper, which reflects an arrogant nature. It was necessary to humiliate him in order for him to learn humility. However, he must not be rejected totally. The Kohen goes out to him (to see if he is healed) to show him that he is still a part of us. Therefore, the Kohen gives him public honor. A sinner should never be totally rejected.
The Seforno we mentioned above states that the mesora must also come closer not to inconvenience the Kohen too much. We learn here that although the Kohen is a Torah leader, he must "come down from the mountain" to the people and teach them and reach out to them. He must constantly offer classes and interesting talks. This will bring the people to higher levels. But, it is incumbent on the people to "come to the Kohen." They must constantly flow like a river towards these classes in order to encourage the teacher to continue making the effort to give forth of his Torah. A mutual relationship between the Kahal and the Rabbi is the most fruitful and productive way to promote growth in Judaism, which is something we all want. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
The perashah tells us that when certain sins were committed, a plague would affect either the homes, the garments or the skin of the Jewish people. Although this seems like a severe punishment, we must realize that all punishments are merely signals to us to examine our ways and improve our conduct.
Once, the owner of a large factory wanted to hire an experienced engineer. He advertised in all the trade journals and announced the time and place to interview for the job. Many candidates turned up at the designated time, but the owner failed to appear. Hours passed. The candidates grew annoyed and began to shout in anger. Only then did the owner come out calmly from his office to address the crowd. He said, "I don't know what you are angry about. You have been waiting in vain. Two hours ago, at the exact time that I had set, I sat in my office and began tapping out signals in Morse Code indicating that anyone who understood me should come into my office for an interview. Only one of you picked up my message and entered my office. He is the one whom I have chosen for the job. The rest have failed the test."
Tens of signals are sent to us every day, some of them in the form of punishments. We must learn to interpret them correctly, thus sparing ourselves from additional "signals." Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"And he shall be brought to the Kohen" (Vayikra 14:2)
Ibn Ezra notes that the Torah states that the person who had sara'at will be brought to the Kohen on the day of his purification, and not that he will come on his own to the Kohen. The reason is that after the sara'at clears up, he will not want to bring the offerings that he is responsible to bring.
When a person has sara'at, he will definitely claim that of course he will bring the necessary offerings when the sara'at clears up. But once he is cured, he can easily forget his obligations. Now that nothing is pressing him, he will focus on other things and not on meeting his obligations.
Some people find it difficult to meet their responsibilities. When they need favors from someone or want to impress someone, they might make many promises. But when the time comes to keep their obligations, they do all they can to avoid meeting them. A person with integrity will derive pleasure from meeting his responsibilities and will not need others to coerce him to keep them. The more pleasure you feel when meeting your obligations, the more motivated you will be to meet them. (Growth through Torah)
This week's Haftarah: Melachim II 7:3-20.
The custom in many communities is to read a special haftara h for Shabbat HaGadol. However, the custom in the Syrian community is to read the regular haftarah for Parashat Mesora. This haftarah tells about four Jewish people with leprosy who were sent out of the Jewish camp, as the law required in our perashah. At the time, the nation of Aram was at war with Israel. However, the four men, displaying the selfishness that put them in this situation in the first place, decided to turn themselves over to Aram. In the end, like the healed leper in our perashah, they learned to put the welfare of their fellow Jews ahead of their own needs, and went to inform the Jews that Aram had fled.
A quick tip to boost the power of your prayer. Hazal tell us (Masechet Baba Kama Daf 92A) that Hashem loves the tefilot of one Jew for another so much that anyone who prays on behalf of a fellow Jew with similar needs will have his prayer answered first. A special service has now begun to provide people with names of others who find themselves in a similar predicament. You can call with complete anonymity and get the name of someone to pray for and give the name of someone that needs our prayers. The name of the service is Kol Hamitpalel. Categories include: Marriage; Income; Health; To have children etc.
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