The Jewish Eye
Chasam Sofer – Not Afraid to Get Sick and Live Forever
While other amoraim stayed far away from sick people so as not to catch their disease, Rebbi Yehoshua Ben Levi was not afraid. He would huddle together with people who carried the most dreaded diseases and learn Torah with them (Kesuvos 77b). He was confident that the zechus of Limud HaTorah would protect him. In the merit of this he was taken to Gan Eden alive never to leave.
This, says the Chasam Sofer, is pshat in the Pasuk (VaYikra 14:2). “Zos Tihiyeh Toras HaMetzora B’Yom Tohorosoi”; this will be the fate of those who learn Torah together with a Mitzora in Kedusha and Tahara. “V’Huva El HaKohen”; he will be brought to the Kohen, meaning the Shechina, who will personally escort him to Gan Eden without any intervention from the Malach HaMaves.
Let's See Your Goods!
The Gemorah (Arachin 16a) says that a person can become afflicted with Tzaraas for 7 different sins or serious character flaws. When a person finds Tzaraas on the walls of his home, it's usually as a punishment for Tzaras Ayin - stinginess. The Gemara (Yoma 11b) mentions this, pointing out the Torah's description of the homeowner as, "the one who the house belongs to". Rashi explains that the owner of the afflicted house is punished for not wanting to share his possessions with other people. When a neighbor would come by asking to borrow something, the homeowner would claim that he did not own the item. This would occur time after time, until Hashem would bring Tzaraas on the house. Before evaluating the affliction, the Kohen would order everything inside to be removed from the house. It would thus become clear that the homeowner did indeed have many items he denied possessing , and his selfishness would be publicized for all to see.
We Can't Handle Tzoraas Today
"Zos Tihyeh Toras HaMetzora";this shall be the Law of the Mitzora. Today, although there is so much Chesed being done between Jews, Lashon HaRa seems to be a weakness in our society. Even people, who might be considered Tzadikim in other segments of Judaism, sometimes fall short when it comes to transgressing the prohibitions of Lashon HaRa. Why then is there no Tzaraas in our days?
Chafetz Chaim answers, since we do not have a Bais HaMikdash and are unable to sacrifice the proper Korbanos which are necessary for the purification of the Metzora, Hashem has mercy on us and has removed the phenomenon of Tzaraas from our midst. Hashem does not want to place a punishment upon us, from which we can not cleanse ourselves.
Humility Has No Middle Ground
"Then shall the Kohen command to take for the person to be cleansed two living clean birds, and cedar-wood and red wool, and hyssop." Why does the Metzora specifically take these items? Rashi explains, since he spoke Lashon HaRa and was high and haughty like a cedar tree, he must lower himself like a worm (Tolaas) and a hyssop (Aizov). Maskil L'David asks, why is it necessary for him to use 2 symbolic items to bring him to humility - the Tolaas Shani and the Aizov - wouldn't it have driven home the point with one?
Maskil L'David explains, although by other character traits, we say that a person should take the middle of the road, not going to an extreme on either end of the spectrum, however concerning Gaavah Chazal tell us "Miod Miod Havay Shfal Ruach" - one should be exceedingly humble. It is for that reason that 2 signs of humbleness were used - to stress that the Metzora should be exceedingly humble to atone his sin.
Bring Your Birds and Hurry Home
After the Zav counts 7 clean days and immerses himself in spring water, he brings 2 birds for a Korban - 1 for a Chatos and 1 for an Olah. Why does the Zav only bring birds while most other Makrivay Korban bring animals?
The Meshech Chochmah answers, this is in order not to embarrass the Zav. If he would have brought animals, many Kohanim would need to be involved in sacrificing these large animals.. This would publicize to all that this person became a Zav. However, since Korbonos consisting of birds can be done with 1 Kohen, it will lessen the embarrassment of the Zav.
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz – If Ever There Was A Time to Be Humble
When a person sees Tzoraas on the wall of his house the pasuk says (Vayikra 14:35) he goes to the Kohen and says, “K’Nega Nirah Li Babayis”, something like a nega appeared to me in the house. Rashi explains that the reason he says “like a nega” is because even if he is great talmid chochom and knows with certainty that it in fact is a nega he should not pasken by himself, he must go to a Kohen.
Rav Yehonoson Eibushitz adds that the most Negaim on homes come from haughtiness. The way to rectify this middah is to lower yourself. Someone who has a problem of needing to feel self important and is punished with a nega should be that last person to declare that he know for sure it is a nega. The first step before anything happens is to see the nega and understand he has a problem. He therefore should talk in more modest tones and say he thinks it looks like a nega. He then does something that he doesn’t often do. He defers to the Kohen and lets him make the final judgment. This is a first and very important step in his long road to recovery.
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