Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Tazria Metzora

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand in his parsha shiur this evening. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistencies are the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Parshios Tazria and Metzora, the Torah goes into detail about various forms of tzara'as (loosely translated as leporosy) and how they are treated. The Torah writes about three categories of tzara'as - those occurring on houses, clothing and on the body.

Chazal write that the affliction is not a physical illness. Instead, it is a sign of a spiritual problem which manifests itself as a physical ailment. Rabbi Frand stated that the "disease" actually develops in stages - first on the home, then on the clothes and finally on the body.

In Vayikra 14:33-57, the Torah discusses the malady of tzara'as of the house. In so doing, the Torah states at 14:35 that the homeowner comes to the Kohain and tells him "K'nega Neera Li BaBayis" - like an affliction has appeared to me in the house.

Rashi (quoting a mishna in Negaim 12:5) writes that the person tells the Kohain that it appears to be a nega even if the homeowner is an expert in determining whether a spot is tzara'as.

Tosafos Yom Tov asks on the mishna in Negaim - if he is a talmid chacham, why does he not simply state - this is a nega?

Tosafos Yom Tov gives four answers. The first answer (said in the name of R' Eliyahu Mizrachi) is that a person should teach his tongue to say "I don't know" - that a person should not always believe that he knows it all. The second answer was that a person should show derech eretz to the Kohain. The third answer given is that the homeowner should not attempt to influence the Kohain's decision. The final answer given by the Tosafos Yom Tov is that the homeowner should not be "poteach peh l'satan" - not give the satan an opening to allow bad things to happen.

Rabbi Frand then asked two more questions. The first (in the name of the Tosafos Yom Tov) question was - why is this taught only in negai batim? The second question (which was asked in the name of the Tolner Rav) was why is this rule not equally applicable to other halachic questions? When a person asks his rav a shaila about kashrus or taharas hamishpacha, he is not prevented from giving his own opinion as part of the conversation!

The Tolner Rav answers the questions by explaining that the nega on the house is an indication that there is something wrong with the way that the children in the house are being raised. The Tolner Rav then teaches each of the Tosafos Yom Tov's four answers as applicable to this scenario.

The first cause of the nega could be because the parents give the impression that they know everything. Children should be taught that there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know" and that their parents do not know everything.

The second possible cause of the nega could be because the parent does not show respect towards others who are lower in stature or intelligence. This is also not a proper atmosphere to raise children.

The third possible cause of the nega could be that the parents are too dominating in their personalities and they do not allow the children to grow and assert themselves.

The fourth possible cause of the nega could be that the parents are always looking at the negative possibility - assuming the worst and making the children feel that there is no hope -thus allowing their very fears to come true.

This is the reason that the lesson only appears by negai batim - because a person needs to know that he must carefully examine the education of the children in the home.

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