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Friday, April 11

The Weekly Shtikle - Metzora

    In this week's parsha we are taught about the laws concerning tzora'as that is found on the walls of one's house. There is an intriguing difficulty found in pasuk 14:37, "Vera'a es hanega vehineh hanega b`kiros habayis sheka'aruros yerakrakos o adamdamos umar'eihen shafal min hakir." First, the nega is referred to in the singular. However, in the rest of the pasuk it is described in the plural.
    R' Kulefsky, zt"l, gives a fascinating, yet somewhat complicated answer in the name of R' Netta Grunblatt (of Memphis, Tennessee). We are taught in the gemara (Sanhedrin 71a) that the required size of the tzora'as on the house is the size of two beans whereas other "negaim" require only one bean. One may deliberate on the following point: Is it that the required size of "nig'ei batim" is twice that of other negaim or that "nig'ei batim" requires two negaim? The difference between the two is illustrated with the precise language used by the Rambam. He writes, in regular cases of tzora'as, that a nega smaller than a bean is "not a nega." However, in the laws of "nig'ei batim," he writes that if the spot is less than two beans, it is "tahor." The implication is that it is still considered a nega, but that it is tahor. [The halachic ramifications of this specification arise in connection with the gemara in Shabbos that states that the prohibition of cutting tzora'as out of one's skin applies even to a "nega tahor."]
    It seems from the Rambam that the proper interpretation would be the second one, that "nig'ei batim" require two nega'im of total size two beans. Therefore, if the spot is less than two beans, it is still a nega, only it is tahor. This, suggests R' Grunblatt, is the explanation for the change in the pasuk from singular to plural. In the beginning, we are referring to the spot as a whole. However, since in essence we are dealing with two negaim, the pasuk describes them in the plural.

Good Shabbos.
Mishenichnas Adar Marbim beSimchah! (See Rashi, bottom of Taanis 29a)
Eliezer Bulka


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