Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig
e-mail yosil@MNSi.net

Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues


Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:1 - 15:33
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."
Vayikra 15:35

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 experience.

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 consciousness.

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.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Yosil Rosenzweig

Back to this week's parsha | Previous Issues

Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Jerusalem, Israel