Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Tazria

The following is a brief summary of two vorts said over by R' Frand this evening. I have attempted to reproduce the vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Vayikra 13:2, the Torah discusses what happens if a person has various forms of tzara'as. The Netziv in the Ha'amek Davar quotes the Zohar who states that there are four synonyms in Chumash for the word person. In this pasuk, the Chumash uses the word "adam". When the Torah uses the word "adam" it is the highest form of man. Indeed the gemara states that the term is reserved for the Jews. If this is the case, it is odd that the term "adam" is used here, as negaim and tzara'as are not positive things. Indeed, the gemara in Erchin lists the things which can result in tzara'as and the primary reason is one who speaks lashon hara. Another reason is because a person is stingy or haughty. As such, a person brings a karban of low brush and birds who chirp as the offering. However, given the reason that tzara'as comes, why does the parsha use the highest form of man?

R' Frand answered by quoting R' Nissim Alpert who explains that the difference between a mensh and a regular person is not whether the person sins. A person who is a mensh can still sin. What differentiates a mensh from the average person is that he admits that he has sinned and wants to repent.

The end of the pasuk uses the language "v'huva" - meaning that the person is brought to Aharon Hakohen. Who brings the person? The person brings himself to Aharon - not that he wants to go, but he knows that he needs to go.

R' Frand compared this to someone who knows that he is ill and needs to go to the doctor. The person is afraid to go to the doctor because he doesn't want to be told why he is sick, or because he does not want to be told that he needs to change his eating patterns or other habits. The use of the word "adam" demonstrates that the metzorah has sinned but he goes to Aharon. This person takes himself to Aharon, even though he knows that he will hear something unpleasant. However, since he is a mensh, he goes on his own volition.

Another vort said by R' Frand this evening dealt with the concept of childbirth and more specifically, the Torah that the fetus learns. The Rabbenu Bachaye teaches that the embryo sees the entire world from end to end. Similarly, the gemara in nidda states that the baby learns the entire Torah while in the womb and then the angel strikes the baby and he forgets everything.

R' Betzalel Ranshberg (sp?) asks on the gemara in nidda - why is it that Hashem teaches the baby everything and then makes the baby forget? He answers by quoting the Vilna Gaon who explains that the baby learns the whole Torah before the baby comes down, because without this learning the baby would not be able to understand or comprehend Torah after he is born. The purest existence that a person has is the nine months when he is learning Torah. Now, when the person learns the Torah as an adult or even a child, he is relearning what he learned in the womb. As a result, the person can understand it.

The Gaon brings a proof from the gemara in megilla which states that if a person says that he worked hard and understood Torah he is to be believed. The language utilized by the gemara for having understood Torah is "U'Matsasah" - meaning that he found the Torah. The Gaon explains that the word "found" implies that it had once been his and was lost, but now he has found it again. What was lost? The Torah which was learned in the womb, but now has been rediscovered by the hard work.

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