Illuminations #28, Iyar 5775, Parshat Tazriah-Metzorah

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Illuminations #28, Iyar 5775, Parshat Tazriah-Metzorah

Torah Gems

When the passuk starts to tell us the dinim (laws) of a metzora it refers to the person as adam (13:2): Adam ki… The rabbis teach us that when referring to a person as adam it is a reference to his prominence (Zohar Hakadosh), as Chazal have taught, “You are referred to as adam, but goyim are not.” The question therefore is, if tzoraat is only contracted if a person transgressed certain particularly severe aveirot (sins), then why does the passuk refer to such a person as adam?

The answer, explains Rav Nissin Alpert, zt”l, can be understood from the continuation of the passuk, vehuva el hakohen – he comes to the kohen – he wants to become cleansed and pure! Yes it is true that this person stumbled – we all do. But the very fact that he wants and desires to return and become tahor is why he is referred to as adam. Chazal say that one who wants to become pure will be helped to do so (Shabbat 104a).

The passuk, when telling us the dinim of a metzora, refers to the person as adam (13:2), a reference to Jews, excluding non-Jews. But why do only we contract tzoraat for speaking loshon hara and the like, but not them? Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, zt”l, author the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, explains that this is because the neshamot of all Jews come from one source, a portion of G-dliness from above, thereby making their unity absolute! Lashon hara or the like causes division and severance of this unity and therefore must be mended immediately and this is why the tzoraat comes. This is why, he continues, the passuk refers to us as adam, for adam is the only terminology referring to man that has no plural rendition. The plural of ish is ishim and of enosh is anashim but adam has no plural rendition, symbolic of the fact that there is no plural by us; we all must stay together!

This is why the passuk specifically by metzora uses the word adam, as if to say, “Because you are supposed to be together – adam, this will happen so that your unity will always remain!”


Parsha Pearls

There is another important lesson to learn from the fact that the metzora calls out, “tamei, tamei,” so that everyone will beseech mercy on his behalf, writes the sefer Yalkut Haurim. The reason we find specifically over here by metzora that he should call out for people to daven for him, something not found anywhere else, is because everywhere else he can daven for himself as well, but here, since he used his mouth to speak badly about someone, his mouth lost its power to a degree, midah k’neged midah, and his tefillot won’t be listened to. Therefore, since his tefillot for himself won’t be effective he must ask others to daven for him.

So besides all else, if we want our tefillot to be listened to we should really try to be careful about what we say.


Glimpse of Greatness

The Gemara tells of how one of the sages, Rabbi Alexandri, was announcing, “Whoever wants to be guaranteed life should come – I have the answer. I have the remedy which will ensure you longevity and that you will not suffer any illness during your lifetime.” Imagine if a doctor had a prescription of some medication that guaranteed longevity and immunity to all kind of illnesses. As Rabbi Alexandri was speaking, the streets were naturally mobbed. When he had everyone’s attention, he told them the remedy – the two passukim in Tehillim: Mi haish hechafetz chaim, oheiv yamim l’rot tov, netzor l’shonecha meira usfasecha midaber mirma – “If one wants to have longevity, have days that he loves (i.e. to be healthy), to see good (the true good of the World to Come) – Guard your tongue from (speaking) evil, and your lips from speaking deceitfulness (i.e. to be righteous and truthful)! (34:13-14).”

This is the guarantee to live a long and healthy life (Avodah Zara 19b, see also Vayikra Rabbah 16:2). The Chofetz Chaim was in his upper nineties when he passed away. The doctors who had examined him said that he did not have one sick limb in his body – he just simply expired. The Chofetz Chaim, who was known to be meticulous in these laws, lived to a ripe old age in perfect health. He was a living testimony and exemplified this blessing of David Hamelech.


Halachah Weekly

Q: Is it permissible for pre-school teachers to play musical tapes for children in the classroom during the Sefirah?

A: The custom is not to listen to music during the Sefirah between Pesach and Lag Ba’Omer.  However, during Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days) it is permissible to do so.  If someone must play music as part of their job, then because it is a necessary  part of their livelihood they are permitted to play music during the time of the Sefirah. If one’s intention as a pre-school teacher is to play music for educational reasons or simply to lull the children for a nap, then it is permissible to play music, as long as the teacher does not derive any pleasure from the music. This also applies at home: if a mother intends on using music to quiet down her children or keep them occupied with it, then it is permissible to play music as long as it is contained in a closed room and the parents do not derive pleasure from listening to it.

לעילוי נשמת סול בת זוהרה , ע”ה

By the Azran Family