PARSHAT TAZRIYA/METZORA -
Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:1 - 15:33
SHABBAT ROSH CHODESH
Bamidbar (Numbers) 28:9-15
Haftorah - Isaiah 66:1-24
Mazel Tov to Connie and David Golden in Toronto on the birth of the first
born child Ely Dov Golden. Mazel Tov also to Muriel Putterman and Nancy
and David Sky as well as the entire Golden family. "Sh'yigadlo L'Torah
L'Chupah U'leMa'asim Tovim - May he mature to Torah, to the wedding canopy
and to good deeds."
Condolences to my brother-in-law Norman Resnick, his brothers and their
families on the loss of their father and grandfather Herman Resnick A"H.
Condolences to Nellie Gluzman, Orah Davi and sons on the loss of their
husband, father and grandfather Litman Gluzman A"H.
Condolences to Loraine Mechanic her children Nathan, Esther, Sharon and
William and their families on the loss of their husband, father and
grandfather DAvid Mechanic A"H.
"You shall seperate the Children of Israel from their
contamination; and they shall not die as a result of
their contamination if they contaminate My tabernacle
that is among them."
Our two Parshiot this week discuss the different conditions of Tumah
(spiritual contamination) and the purification process (which usually calls
for a separation of varying degrees) as well as different procedures which
must be followed in order become Tahor (purified). At the very end of the
second Parsha the Torah calls all Jewish couples to separate just before,
during and immediately after the onset of menstruation (a Tumah discussed
in verses 19-31). This Mitzvah, commonly known as Nidah (separation), is
one of the main pillars of Jewish family life.
My wife (Ale'ha HaShalom - may peace be upon her) used to say about Nidah
that Judaism was the only religion that empowered women with control of
sexuality. The Torah makes women regulators of when and how long this
separation would be enforced. When a woman tells her husband that her
menstrual cycle has begun, he is obligated to separate himself from her and
is forbidden to touch her until she informs him that her purification is
complete. Regardless of how much the flames of desire for her may burn,
she is in total control - that's power.
The Talmud (Sota 17a) teaches:
"When a husband and wife are worthy of each other, Hashem's presence
dwells among them, if they are not worthy, then fire dwells among them."
Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, France: 1040 - 1105) teaches that when the
Talmud says that "Hashem's presence dwells among them," it must be
understood literally. The root word of both Man (Ish - spelled Aleph, Yod,
Shin) and Woman (Isha -spelled Aleph, Shin, Hey) is Aish - fire. Without
Hashem, man and woman can come together as "fire" with physical lust and
desire burning out of control between them. But when Hashem comes into a
marriage (an abbreviation of Hashem's name is Yod and Hey), then the fires
are controlled by the Yod and Hey in man and woman. These very same
desires can transcend the physical and become a shared spiritual
There is much to be said about keeping the Laws of Family Purity (as these
laws are referred to). Above and beyond all meaningful understanding of
these laws, is the simple fact that we are obligated to follow these laws
because He commanded us to observe them. But the deeper one goes to
comprehend the meaning of His laws, the more significance one can uncover.
Bringing Hashem into every detail of our lives, even the most private -
allows us to experience His presence among us. To attempt this, one must
strive to always be in a state of purity. Each act we do however noble and
pure can become steeped in the contamination of Tumah. But our Parsha
teaches us that each Tumah has a process of Tahara that allows us to ascend
to levels purity of mind, purity of body, purity of spirit and purity of
Our homes are tabernacles to Hashem. The Torah is teaching us that
sometimes separation brings us closer together, so close - that He actually
dwells among us.
Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig