PARSHA ON PARADE IS DEDICATED TO
OF MY DEAR FATHER AND REBBI:
HARAV HAGAON RAV YESHAYA SHIMANOWITZ Z'TZL ,
YESHIVAS RABAINU YAAKOV YOSEF
(RABBI JACOB JOSEPH YESHIVA - RJJ)
IN NYC FOR OVER 23 YEARS.
NIFTAR ON 20 ADAR 5758 - MARCH 18, 1998.
MAY HE BE A MAYLITZ YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL.
MY DEAR MOTHER
REBITZEN BRACHA ETEL SHIMANOWITZ A'H
WHO DEVOTED HER ENTIRE LIFE TO MY FATHER AND HIS TORAH,
NIFTERA ON 21 TEVET 5770 - WED EVE. JANUARY 6, 2010.
MAY SHE BE A MAYLITZA YOSHER FOR ALL OF KLAL YISROEL
Menachim Z. Shimanowitz
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NUMBER OF MITZVOT: 11
11 MITZVOT ASEH (POSITIVE COMMANDMENT)
NO MITZVOT LO TAASEH (NEGATIVE COMMANDMENT - PROHIBITION)
NUMBER OF PESUKIM (SENTENCES): 90
NUMBER OF WORDS: 1274
NUMBER OF LETTERS: 4697
This year, (5779 / 2019) Parshat Metzora is a special Shabbat.
It is Shabbat HaGadol: (Lit. 'the Great Shabbat');
The Shabbat preceding Pesach / Passover is called Shabbat HaGadol because it was the day when the Jews were to take the sheep (which the Egyptians worshipped) to be used for the Korban Pesach (Pascal offering) four days later. (This means that the first Pesach was on a Wednesday).
After nine plagues, the Egyptians were powerless to react to the slaughter of one of their gods. The Israelites, of course, didn't know this, and therefore displayed tremendous faith in Hashem prior to Yetziat Mitzrayim (the Exodus). We remember this event with a special Haftorah, Malachi 3:4 - 24, where again great faith and trust in Hashem is emphasized. The Haftorah concludes with the call to remember the teachings of Moshe and informs us that Hashem will send Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) to herald the great and awesome day when Bnei Yisroel will again experience redemption. This is yet another possible reason for the name Shabbat HaGadol, - that "great day" mentioned in the Haftorah.
Traditionally on Shabbat HaGadol the Rabbi lectures about the observance and meaning of Pesach to his congregation, teaching the laws of Pesach, so that the families can prepare properly for the Yom Tov. Which leads to another interpretation of Shabbat HaGadol - "the Shabbat of the Leader" or of the Rabbi. A more novel explanation is that the people returning from the synagogue later than usual on this Shabbat because of the unusually long speech that was customary on this day. Thus this Shabbat seemed "great," i.e., longer than the other Shabbatot.
Whatever the reason for the name, it is customary to recite part of the Haggadah on Shabbat HaGadol, from " עבדים היינו - Avadim Hayinu" we were slaves in Egypt" to " לכפר על עוונותינו Lechaper Al Kol Avonoteinu."
HAFTORA: (Additional portion, from Prophets, which is read after the Parsha)
Malachi II 3:4-24 (repeating verse 23 at the end).
our last episode the Torah introduces us to Tzora'at.
In English it's called Leprosy.
But it's not the kind of Leprosy you know about these days. In the
times of the Mishkan and Bait Hamikdosh,
Tzora'at was a spiritual disease that was cured by doing Teshuva.
The number one
cause of Tzora'at was Loshon Hora. A sign of
Tzora'at was a white spot on the skin and, so far, we
know Tzora'at could also show up on white wool, linen
cloth or leather.
| As our Parsha
opens, we ask the question "how does a Metzorah, a
person with Tzora'at become cured."
Firstly, after being separated from other people for seven days,
you can imagine how relieved a Metzorah is when they
notice the spot's gone. The Metzorah calls for a Kohain
to examine him. The Kohain makes a 'house call' and goes
out of town to examine the Metzorah. If the Kohain
agrees that the spot is gone he declares this to be the first
of an eight day purification process.
| Next , the Kohain
performs this ritual:
has an earthenware bowl filled with fresh spring water. He also
asks for two birds of the same species. He slaughters one of the
birds over the spring water and squeezes the blood into the bowl.
The slaughtered bird is then buried.
Next, the Kohain ties together a stick of cedar wood
and a branch from a Aizov (hyssop) tree with a red wool
string. Then he takes the tied set of sticks and the live bird
and dips then into bloody water. He sprinkles some the water on
the Metzorah's hand seven times and then sends the bird
away. If the bird comes back he sends it away again until the
bird is gone.
The Kohain shaves off ALL the Metzorah's hair.
Then the Metzorah goes into a Mikvah to purify
himself and his clothes. Then the Metzorah counts seven
days. On that seventh day the Metzorah shaves off ALL
their hair again. The Metzorah and his clothes then
take another dip in the Mikvah.
| Now it's Korban
time: Chatat, Asham, Olah and a Mincha, every
kind of Korban that cleanses the Metzorah from
sin. The Kohain places blood from the Korban Asham,
followed by oil on the Metzorah's right earlobe, middle
joint of his right thumb, and the middle joint of the right big
toe. The rest of the oil is placed on the Metzorah's head.
Finally, the Metzorah is a pure person. They may return
to their family after what has been a grueling experience of at
least two weeks.
You better believe that this person isn't gonna take Lashon
Hora lightly no more!
| If you think a leper
has a hard time changing his spots, how about a house of leprosy!
Oy gevalt! First of all, why would Tzora'at hit
Well, there are a few reasons.
Tzora'at on a house is a tell tale sign that something
miserably is going on.
If a house in Eretz Yisroel has a red or green spot
that looks like Tzora'at, the owner has to call the Kohain.
The kohain orders the owner to clean out the entire house
before he makes a 'house call' to check, otherwise all the belongings
could become Tamay.
This is part of the punishment for the miserable owner: Now
everyone will know exactly what they have hidden in their house.
Nothing remains behind closed doors.
If the owner is smart, they realizes that this is their chance
to do Teshuva, Since Tzora'at comes from spiritual
problems, Hashem could cure or make the spots lighter
before the Kohain gets to the house.
If the spots are still there when the Kohain makes
his 'house call', the Kohain locks up the house for seven
days. Seven days later if the spots are gone or lighter the Kohain
declares the house pure. If the spots are larger, the Kohain
orders the owner to chop out the bricks that have Tzora'at
and replace them with new bricks. Then the house becomes off limits
for another week.
If the Tzora'at returns again, the Kohain
declares that the house must be demolished.
If the Tzora'at is gone, the house goes through the
same purifying ritual as a Metzorah, two birds, spring
water and the tied sticks. The water is sprinkled on the doorpost
The whole experience is bound to be a humbling one and you can
bet that a great lesson is learned by the family!
As we said in our last episode, Tzora'at only occured
in the time of the Mishkan and the Bait Hamikdash
and only in Eretz Yisroel. In our time we have no Tzora'at
. But that doesn't mean we may speak Lashon Hora.
Tune in after Pesach / Passover when we answer the question that lingers in everyone's
mind, "What did happen after the death of Aharon's two sons?"
in the next exciting episode of :
the Midrash Maven on Metzora
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