The Weekly Shtikle Blog

An online forum for sharing thoughts and ideas relating to the Parshas HaShavua

View Profile

Friday, April 24

The Weekly Shtikle - Tazria/Metzora

Most of this week's parshios deal with the laws of the metzora. We are told (13:46) that the metzora must be sent outside of the camps and must dwell alone, "badad yeisheiv." The commentaries note that tzara'as comes as a punishment for lashon hara, which comes as a result of engaging in idle chatter with one's friends and others. Therefore, the punishment is fitting that the metzora must be excommunicated so he cannot converse with his friends and thus, surely cannot tell any more lashon hara. This will give the opportunity to examine his sins and repent. According to this reasoning, it would seem that the metzora should be in total solitary confinement, without even the company of other metzoraim. This, however, is the subject of much discussion.


The first source that must be considered is an incident in Navi which is, in fact, the haftarah for parshas Metzora which we will be reading this year. In Melachim II 7:3 we are told that there were four metzoraim at the gateway. In the events that ensue it is clear that these men were together. However, this may not be brought as a proof one way or the other for a number of reasons. First, Chaza"l tell us that these four men were Geichazi and his sons. In the sefer Nachalas Shimon (by Rabbi Shimon Krasner of Ner Yisroel) it is pointed out that if a metzora would require absolute solitary confinement it would be because it follows the laws of nidui, excommunication, in which no one may be within four amos of the menudeh. However, in the Shulchan Aruch (YD 3l4:2) it is stated clearly that even one who is in nidui may be with his kids. Additionally, many commentaries point out that this particular instance of tzara'as is anomalous in that it was the result of a curse from Elisha that the tzara'as of Na'aman (see the seldom-read haftarah of Tazria) should inflict Geichazi and his sons.

Rashi, on the words "badad yeisheiv" writes that other temai'im should not dwell with him. This might seem to indicate that he does in fact require solitary confinement. However, Rashi's intent is made more clear in his commentary on the gemara in Pesachim which Rashi is quoting here. There it is clear that the meaning is that other "types" of temai'im such as zav and temei meis may not dwell with the metzora but it would seem that other metzoraim are allowed to dwell with him.

Nachalas Shimon on Melachim II deals with this issue at length and the conclusion is that it seems to be permissible. Tzafnas Panei'ach, as well, reaches the conclusion that it is allowed. Malbim here also writes that a metzora may dwell with other metzoraim and he fits into the precise definition of the word badad, explaining that it implies a separation but not an absolute confinement for we see the word badad referring to an entire nation at once (Bemidbar 23:9).

Nevertheless, the sefer Minchah Belulah writes that metzoraim may not dwell with each other for they are not equals.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Meaining of "kibus" by Eliyahu Levin
Dikdukian: Various Dikduk Observations by Eliyahu Levin

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,
The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on

Friday, April 17

The Weekly Shtikle - Shemini

In this week's parsha, we learn of the tragic episode of Nadav and Avihu, two sons of Aharon who were killed when they brought a sacrifice which they were not commanded to bring. As the story begins, the pasuk (10:1) recounts, "And two sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, took..." I found it puzzling that they are first referred to as the sons of Aharon and only following that are they identified by their names. One might have expected the opposite.

After convincing the citizens of the city of Shechem to circumcise themselves, Shimon and Levi return three days later and wipe out all of the males. There too, (Bereishis 34:25) they are referred to as "the two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi."

At the beginning of Parshas Korach, when Korach's entourage is enumerated, we are introduced to Dasan and Aviram by name for the very first time. They are indeed referred to as "Dasan and Aviram, the sons of Eliav." I am no longer sure which is the exception and which is the rule but perhaps the following thought may explain this discrepancy:

Although the actions of Yaakov and Aharon's sons were met with sharp opposition or death, each group acted with a considerable degree of good intentions. Shimon and Levi's attack on the city of Shechem was hardly an act of selfishness. They were defending their sister and the honour of their father. Although Yaakov ultimately chastised them for their angry attack, their decision was clearly fuelled by noble, selfless intentions.

Nadav and Avihu, as well, were overcome by the Divine presence and the great miracles that were an integral part of the consecration of the mishkan. They brought their sacrifice because they were inspired to do so and as kohanim, the sons of Aharon, they felt it was the proper thing to do. Although both the sons of Aharon and the sons of Yaakov made incorrect judgements, the Torah's recount of their deeds alludes to the virtuous intentions behind their actions by first reaffirming their prestigious pedigree. Dasan and Aviram, contrarily, were driven by selfish motives. Being the sons of Eliav is therefore considered insignificant with respect to their names. They are therefore listed with their names first, indicative of the driving forces behind their actions.

Have a good Shabbos and Chodesh Tov.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Lehavdil

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,
The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on

Friday, April 3

The Weekly Shtikle - Leil Seder

As we look forward to the seder Night, there are many familiar passages we will go over again, hopefully with a new understanding of the meaning behind the text. The saying goes that there are 70 faces to the Torah but when it comes to the haggadah, it tends to be more like 170. But every now and then it is interesting to take a passage we are familiar with and rethink the way it is even read in the first place.

Such was the mission of noted Weekly Shtikle contributor David Farkas in a recent post on the Seforim Blog which I will attempt to re-write in English. We all know the famous story of the five sages who were engrossed in the retelling of the story of yetzias Mitzrayim in B'nei Brak. There are indeed numerous intriguing questions which make this entire anecdote quite mysterious. One such question is how it could be that these sages would be oblivious to the onset of the time for recitation of keriyas Shema such that their disciples needed to interrupt and remind them. This question is based on the assumed reading of the text thusly: Until the disciples came and said to them, "Raboseinu, the time for recitation of keriyas Shema has arrived."

However, notes Mr. Farkas, a simple re-reading of this passage with an adjustment to the comma and the quotes could lend an entirely different understanding of the story. The term raboseinu appears to be part of the quote but perhaps it is part of the narrative resulting in the following reading of the text: …until the disciples arrived and raboseinu declared, "the time for recitation of keriyas Shema has arrived." It was not in fact the disciples who made the declaration but the sages themselves. Of course this only addresses one of the many mysteries of this passage. There is still much more to discuss. 

For a collection of previous seder night shtikles, please check out my archive of past Seder shtikles.

Have a good Shabbos and a Chag kasher ve'samei'ach!

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Dikdukian: Chad Gadya

Please visit the new portal for all Shtikle-related sites,
The Weekly Shtikle and related content are now featured on

Labels: ,