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Friday, April 21

The Weekly Shtikle - Tazria / Metzora

Parshas Tazria covers most of the laws pertaining to the declaration of a case of tzara'as. The specifics of a kohein determining when there is tzara'as on a body or garment are discussed there. Parshas Metzora begins with the post-tzara'as procedures necessary for the affected individual to become tahor once again. However, immediately following that we are told of the procedures involved in identifying tzora'as on a house. One would have expected this section to be connected to the other group in parshas Tazria.


We have dealt in the past with other examples where some of the things belong together - but they aren't. The key is usually an intrinsic uniqueness in the case of the section that doesn't belong. This instance is no different. The gemara (Sanhedrin 71a) informs us of an interesting fact concerning tzara'as of the house. According to one opinion, tzara'as of the house never happened and never will. Why then is it even discussed in the Torah? The gemara answers, derosh vekabel sachar, learn it and you will be rewarded. Perhaps it is the "impracticality" of tzara'as of the house that warrants its separation from the other more applicable cases of tzora'as.


[There is something that has always bothered me about the above gemara. The gemara explains that the reason why it can never happen is because the prerequisite for such a case is a blotch the size of two beans in the corner of the house, etc. which is so remote that it could never happen. My question is that the entire essence of tzara'as on the house is itself a total miracle outside the bounds of nature. Since it is all a miracle from Above to begin with, why do we deem it so remote that it could happen in this fashion?]


The gemara in Sanhedrin lists two other examples of laws in the Torah that never have and never will be implemented. The ir hanidachas, the wayward city, is a city which has worshiped idols as a whole and is therefore destroyed as a whole. However, this is not carried out in a city that has even one mezuzah. The ben sorer umoreh, the wayward son is put to death. However, the requirements for this scenario are so exact and specific that it is virtually impossible.


R' Yaakov Moshe Kulefsky, zt"l, would caution, however, that one might learn this gemara and be led to believe that the purpose of these sections in the Torah is only so that we may sit and toil learning the specific laws and be rewarded simply for the toil. But this is not the case. What the gemara is telling us is that although these cases might never happen, there are valuable lessons to be learned from each halachah. For example, the discussion surrounding ben sorer umoreh teaches us very valuable lessons in chinuch. The Torah discusses these laws so that we may learn the valuable lessons that are attached to them and through those lessons we will earn reward.


Back to the original question, on a practical level, tzara'as of the house was not applicable in the midbar, in contradistinction to the other forms of tzara'as. Perhaps the sections were arranged such that the people were first taught everything they needed to know for immediate application and only after that were they told of laws that would apply in the future.


Have a chosesh tov and good Shabbos.


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: White Hair

Dikdukian: Meaining of "kibus" by Eliyahu Levin

Dikdukian: Various Dikduk Observations by Eliyahu Levin


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