Rabbi Reisman - Parshas Tazria - Shabbos Rosh Chodesh - Parshas Hachodesh 5782
1 – Topic – Is a Nega Tzaras a good thing or a bad thing?
As we prepare for Shabbos Parshas Tazria which is also Parshas Hachodesh as well as Rosh Chodesh, a three Sefer Torah Shabbos which is a Shabbos in which some people eat three types of Kugel, but the Ikkur is that it is a Shabbos that we appreciate Boruch Hashem the wonderful Chessed that HKB”H has given us a Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh and the month of Nissan which is Klal Yisrael’s Hischadshus, all in the very same Shabbos.
Speaking about Hischadshus, I want to start out with a Dvar Torah on Parshas Tazria which has everything to do with the mood of a Shabbos that is also Rosh Chodesh Nissan. As you know, Parshas Tazria introduces us to the Parsha of Metzora. There are two apparently contradictory Gemaras. The Gemara in Horayos 10a (15 lines from the bottom) says (בשורה היא להם שנגעים באים עליהם). That it ended up being something very good. (בשורה) means good news. You are all familiar with the idea that treasures were found in the walls of the homes of the Kenanim because there was Tza’ras and the wall was broken down. Which means (בשורה היא להם) something good came from what happened.
Now we all understand that in the case of breaking a wall and finding a treasure it is readily apparent what the good news of the Negaim is. However, the Gemara is saying that (בשורה היא להם), in general one way or another Negaim which appear to be something no good are or can be turned into something no good.
The Gemara in Arachin 16a (18 lines from the top) says (על שבעה דברים נגעים באין על לשון הרע) that Negaim are an Onesh for Loshan Hora and for other Aveiros that the Gemara mentions. It is a punishment. So how can it be that one Gemara says a language of (בשורה היא להם) it is good news and the other Gemara says that it is an Onesh. How can it be a punishment and good news at the same time?
I saw a Dvar Torah brought in the name of a Sefer Imrei Kohen. The Medrash (Ed. Note: The Medrash Rabbah is Parsha Yud Zayin on the Posuk that is found in 14:34 (נֶגַע צָרַעַת, בְּבֵית אֶרֶץ אֲחֻזַּתְכֶם)) says on (ונתתי נגע צרעת) that (הדא הוא דכתיב (תהלים עג) אך טוב לישראל). The Medrash says you will have a Nega Tzaras and this is what it says (אך טוב לישראל) which sounds like the Gemara in Horayos that it is good for Klal Yisrael. But the Medrash goes on (יכול לכל), you think it is good for everybody who becomes a Metzora? (תלמוד לומר- לברי לבב). It depends on your heart.
The understanding is as follows. A person who does things that are improper he is deserving of punishment. There has to be a consequence, there has to be an Onesh. The Ribbono Shel Olam doesn’t give Onshim just for the sake of punishment. Onshim are designed to try to bring a person to an Aliyah, to be stronger, to being a better person. That is the idea of the Onshei HaTorah. The Madreiga of (ברי לבב) is as follows. People feel such a sense of closeness to HKB”H. I am not talking about Gedolei Hador. I am talking about people like you and I. If we have have the Zechus to take the teachings of the Baalei Machshava to heart and we walk in the street we say thank you HKB”H. If something happens that gives us joy we see the Yad Hashem. That when HKB”H gives us a treasure, he gives us something that is good, we feel shamefaced. We say HKB”H you do so much good for me, how can I not be Davening better, how can I be missing my Sedorim, my Sidrei Halimud? How can I just say I am too tired for Mishmar? If HKB”H does Chessed, He allows me to successful with a Shidduch of a child, allows me to be successful with a Parnasa that is working, He gives me success in different areas. I am ashamed to stand in front of HKB”H and air my petty Narishkeit, the things that stop me from having Kavana or from making it to the Beis Medrash. It is a (ברי לבב) type of an Onesh. The Onesh is that HKB”H does good to you and you see that you have to do Teshuva.
The source for this is in Yechezkel 36:30 (וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת-פְּרִי הָעֵץ, וּתְנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה). HKB”H says I am going to give you an abundant crop (לְמַעַן, אֲשֶׁר לֹא תִקְחוּ עוֹד חֶרְפַּת רָעָב--בַּגּוֹיִם). You shouldn’t have the embarrassment of a hunger among the nations. 36:31 (וּזְכַרְתֶּם אֶת-דַּרְכֵיכֶם הָרָעִים, וּמַעַלְלֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא-טוֹבִים; וּנְקֹטֹתֶם, בִּפְנֵיכֶם, עַל עֲוֺנֹתֵיכֶם, וְעַל תּוֹעֲבוֹתֵיכֶם). HKB”H says I will do you a favor. You deserve a punishment to wake you up. I will give you a chance. I will wake you up with a gift, with a treasure. (בשורה היא להם) – Onesh Hu Lahem. You are deserving of a punishment. You have to be reawakened. I am going to try this way. Let me give you something good. If you will take that and turn it into Mussar, if you are going to take that and say wow how can I be failing in my Avodas Hashem if Hashem is so good to me, then that will be adequate. It is an incredible lesson. That HKB”H tries from good.
Somebody has a child that is misbehaving. A Mechaneich will tell him look, first try with good, try with being kind to him, by giving him incentives. If that doesn’t work then we will have to be tough with him. The Ribbono Shel Olam does the same thing with us. He showers us with goodness so that we will look to Him and say Oy Ribbono Shel Olam You are so good to me how can I not reciprocate in kind.
In the Sifrei Hakadmonim this is known as Teshuvas of Rav Saadya Gaon. It is said about Rav Saadya Gaon that he did Teshuva and then a day later or a week later he had to do Teshuva all over again. He said when I did Teshuva a week ago I wasn’t Makir Es Bori, I didn’t have the full recognition of my connection to the Ribbono Shel Olam. A week later I feel a stronger connection, so I have to do that Teshuva all over again. We are not talking about Teshuvas by beating up on yourself. We are talking about a Teshuva where a person feels elevated, feels higher than the silly things that he has done in the past.
Many of us remember a time that a particular Seder was a challenge. Whether it was the Mishmar, or whether it was Shabbos afternoon, or whether it was to get up on time in the morning. Then we got to a point where we do it without being challenged every single time, without a struggle. This is because we are Makir Es Bor’ainu. We want that HKB”H should give it to us with goodness, give it to us with a treasure. That is the way we would like it. This is a Machshava for the month of Nissan, the month in which we see HKB”H’s goodness to us.
It was freezing here in NY and now the weather is beautiful as we come to Chodesh Nissan. When you walk out today and you enjoy the warmth, say Ribbono Shel Olam, Chasdei Hashem it is wonderful, it is beautiful, it is warm outside. B’ezras Hashem, if you are Makir that is the best kind of Teshuva. Teshuva where the Onesh is a big kiss so that you can turn to the Ribbono Shel Olam and say if You kiss me like that I have to show my Ahavah back.
2 – Topic – The Proper Limud of Halacha
Let’s turn to a second thought something on the beginning of the Parsha in 12:7 (זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַיֹּלֶדֶת). The beginning of the Parsha discusses some of the laws of a Yoledes. In the Hakdama of the Beis Efraim to his Teshuvos on Orach Chaim, he points out that the Posuk states (זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַיֹּלֶדֶת) and that the words (זֹאת תּוֹרַת) are used many times. By Shelomim or Chatas or other Korbanos. The Torah uses the word Toras which means the study of. The study of a Yoledes, the study of the Korban Chatas etc. he says the following. The Torah wants to make the point to us that when you are Frum and you want to be Ehrlich, you want to have a closeness to the Borei Olam and you go out and you do a Mitzvah . You are motivated, you are energized, you want to do it, it is not enough. (זֹאת תּוֹרַת). You need to learn Torah. If you don’t learn the Halacha, then you can have a man who wants very much to blow Shofar. He takes the Shofar and he blows. It is Rosh Hashana and he is not going to be Yotzei the Mitzvah. If you don’t learn the Halacha you can’t be Yotzei the Mitzvah. You can have all your motivation, however, without (זֹאת תּוֹרַת) you are not going anywhere, you are not going anyplace. (זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַיֹּלֶדֶת) If you don’t learn the Halacha all your motivations are not going to be helpful. Therefore, we would like very much to encourage especially before Pesach the proper Limud Halacha so that you can be Toras, so that you be somebody who does things in the proper way and your motivation is useful.
3 – Topic – A Riddle
As you know this year the first night of Pesach which is the first Seder is also Shabbos Kodesh. Here is a riddle. What is it that this year at the Pesach Seder you are able to do but you are not permitted to do it when the Pesach Seder is not Shabbos. In other words, Chumros for Shabbos okay, they will be publicized, however, Kulos for Shabbos, is there ever such a thing? That there could be something that is Assur on every other night of the week by the Seder except for Leil Shabbos Kodesh? Wishing everybody an absolutely fantastic and extraordinary Shabbos Kodesh!