Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Tazria
To dedicate this lesson
Aloh Naaleh



Rabbi David Samson

Adar 2 5768
In this weeks portion we meet a unique form of impurity- Tzaraat. (Vayikra chapter 13 verse 20). Comparatively this form of defilement is the severest.

The First Mishnas in Seder Taharot delineate Ten Levels of Tumah (Kelim chapter1 mishnas 1-5).According to this list , a person who is a metzorah is at the highest level of defilement that a person can contract exceeded only by the tumah of a decaying cadaver.

The mishna then goes on to delineate 10 levels of Kedusha in Israel. The holiest of course being the Holy of Holies upon the temple mount where only The High priest can enter once a year on the holiest day. The mishna then correlates the various defilement's of people and lists those who are forbidden to enter the temple, the temple mount, Jerusalem, and finally any walled city in Israel. As would be expected , the person with the greatest level of defilement The Metzorah , is exiled to the remotest part of Israel being forbidden to live within the confines of any walled city in the country.

The Talmud (Erchin16a) teaches us that Tzaraat is contracted by speaking lashon haroh. One who speaks lashon horah about a fellow Jew is ostracized from the community but may still dwell within the confines of Israel. There is however one person whose defilement is so great that he is banished totally from the land.- One who speaks lashon horah about Israel. The torah prescribed a punishment for the spies and their followers, of being banished not only from the community but from all of Israel "...All who detest me shall not see her(Israel)".(Bamidbar 14,23)."In this wilderness will your cadavers decay"(Bamidbar 14,29).". From this , we can see the extreme severity of speaking negatively about Israel. It is tantamount to the epitome of defilement.

May we merit to cherish the land in our hearts, deeds and speech As the Kuzari concludes "For Yerushalaim will verily be reconstructed only once the Jews yearn for it with all of their heart".
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