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Tazria: Three Gems from the Parsha

Published on Thursday May 13th, 2021

As a rule, Rashi usually explains how one Parsha is juxtaposed to another. But this is not the case this time around. Therefore, we will try to explain the link between our two weekly readings, namely Shemini (last week) and Tazria (this week).

Kashrut, Pregnancy and Lashon Hara

Parashat Shemini talks about forbidden foods, while Tazria introduces the subject of pregnancy. The Parsha teaches us that if a woman wants a carefree pregnancy and wishes to earn the merit of raising righteous children, she must be careful to consume strictly Kosher food.

Rav Yisrael Salanter makes a connection between the two parshiot in an unusual way: a person who is careful and vigilant to only consume strictly Kosher must also be careful not to "eat people alive" through Lashon Hara and harmful gossip, another topic widely discussed in this week's Parsha.

Leprosy, Moshiach, and Teshuvah

This week's Parsha teaches us about leprosy. If someone discovers a small white spot on his body, this means he is stricken by leprosy and must follow a process of purification. On the other hand, if the spots cover his entire body, and the latter has become completely white, it means that the person is pure! Astonishing!

Here is second teaching from the Gemara: Mashiach can only come if the generation is entirely deserving or wholly undeserving. It is easy to understand that if the generation is deserving, Mashiach will come. But if the generation is unworthy, why would he come?

The answer unravels the leprosy issue, as well as the question regarding the emergence of Mashiach amid an unworthy generation.

If a man becomes entirely white, this alarming situation will surely shake him to the core and lead him to do Teshuvah. Therefore, he does not need to undergo a process of purification. Similarly, if the whole generation is entirely unworthy, it is useless to reprimand the people because they won’t listen, the Mashiach must therefore speedily come to make them do Teshuvah!

The Strength of Brit-Milah

"On the eighth day, the excrescence of the child will be circumcised" (Vayikra, 12, 3).

Here is a Midrash which demonstrates the impact of Brit-Milah, the covenant between Hashem and the Jewish people:

One day, a Roman emperor asked Rabbi Tanchuma the following question: "What if our two Peoples intermarry and unite to become one? "

Rabbi Tanchuma agreed but told the emperor that to be part of the Jewish people, one had to first undergo circumcision.

The Emperor was fuming: "How dare you impose a condition on me? As a punishment for your chutzpah, I will feed you to the lions! "

Soldiers seized Rabbi Tanchuma and threw him into the lion's den. But the purity and sanctity he exuded through the covenant of Brit-Milah prevented the lions from attacking him!

A heretic and uncircumcised Jew, who witnessed the miracle, said to the emperor, "Perhaps the lions are not hungry! "

The Emperor replied, "All right, we'll check your theory. Your turn to go into the lion’s' den! "

Shortly after, he was devoured by the lions ... As for Rabbi Tanchuma, he was treated with the highest honors.

Shabbat Shalom!

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box Account

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