May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 22, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Zera Shimshon on Parshas Tazria

ואָדָם כִּי יִהְיֶה בְעוֹר בְּשָׂרוֹ שְׂאֵת אוֹ סַפַּחַת אוֹ בַהֶרֶת וְהָיָה בְעוֹר בְּשָׂרוֹ לְנֶגַע צָרָעַת וְהוּבָא אֶל אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן אוֹ אֶל אַחַד מִבָּנָיו הַכֹּהֲנִים
(ויקרא יג:ב)

“A person, when there will be on the skin of his flesh a white mark the color of white wool or a white mark the color of the white of an egg or a white mark that is white like snow and it forms a tzaraas lesion on skin of his flesh, he should be brought to Aharon or to one of his children, the Kohanim.”

On this pasuk, the midrash (Midrash Rabbah, Vayikra 15:4) comments, “this pasuk can be understood in light of the pasuk (Mishlei 1:29), ‘Nachonim lalaitzim shevatim—Punishments are prepared for people who mock …’” In other words, the midrash understood that there is some difficulty in understanding this pasuk and the pasuk, “Nachonim lalaitzim shevatim—Punishments are prepared for people who mock … ” resolves this difficulty. The Zera Shimshon asks the obvious question: What is this difficulty and how does this pasuk resolve it?

He answers that Chazal were bothered by the fact that it is written in the pasuk, “Veadam ki yeheyeh beohr besohroh—A man, when there will be on the skin of his flesh … ” and not “Veadam kei yeheyeh beohr besohroh—A man, if there will be on his skin of his flesh.” This implies that being infected with tzaraas is something that will surely happen and not something that just might happen. How can this be? How can the Torah write that there will be people who will certainly not keep the Torah?

The midrash, therefore, brought the pasuk in Mishlei, “Nachonim lalaitzim shevatim—Punishments are prepared for people who mock … ” that also implies that it is inevitable that there will be sinners who will need punishment and the punishment is just waiting for the right time to pounce on him. This is a proof that there is such a reality that transgressing the Torah and punishment can be certain.

The midrash continues, “When Bnei Yisroel heard the dinim of tzaraas they became frightened! Moshe said to them, ‘You don’t have to be frightened! These dinim were given only for the idolatrous nations of the world but you can eat, drink and be happy like it is written, “Rabim machohvim l’rasha, vehabotayach baShem chessed yesohvavenu—The wicked experience lots of suffering, but one who trusts in Hashem is surrounded by kindness.”’”

Meaning, when Bnei Yisroel heard that they were destined to contract tzaraas they became very scared. How will they be able to endure such pain? Zera Shimshon explains that Moshe reassured them and told them that there are really two types of tzaraas. In the present world the halachos of tzaraas are only applicable to Bnei Yisroel and are meant as an atonement for certain misdeeds, like speaking lashon hara and haughtiness. If people will be careful they will not contract it. The allusion in the pasuk, “Veadam ki yeheyeh beohr besoroh saais oh sapachas—A person, when there will be on the skin of his flesh … ‘saais oh sapachas,’ that it is unavoidable not to be infected with tzaraas,” is referring to the end of days and to the other idolatrous nations that mock Hashem. Such people who will not have faith in Hashem and not accept Hashem’s kingship will surely be infected with tzaraas. However, “vehabotayach baShem chessed yesohvavenu—the Jewish nation who have faith in Hashem, will be surrounded by kindness.” Therefore, there is no need for Bnei Yisroel to be frightened and as long as they keep all of the mitzvos there is nothing to worry about.

Zera Shimshon asks another question on the wording at the end of the midrash: These dinim were given only for the idolatrous nations of the world but you can eat, drink and be happy, like it is written, “Rabbim machohvim l’rasha, vehabotayach baShem chessed yesohvavenu—The wicked experience lots of suffering, but one who trusts in Hashem is surrounded by kindness.” Why is it important to know that the Jewish will be eating, drinking and being happy while the others are suffering? The main point, seemingly, is that idolatrous nations of the world will be stricken with tzaraas and Bnei Yisroel—who trust in Hashem—will not contract tzaraas? Why does the midrash mention that they will also eat, drink and be happy?

He explains this—in light of an incident mentioned in the Gemara (Kesuvos 61:A)—that the Amora, Rav Ashi, once saw that another Amora, Mar Zutra, was very hungry and that there was a spirit of tzaraas hovering over him. He gave him something to eat to save Mar Zutra from being afflicted with tzaraas. From here, we learn that being hungry can cause one to contract tzaraas.

According to this—Zera Shimshon explains—that, at the end of days, not only will the ones who believe and serve Hashem not contract tzaraas because of misdeeds but they will eat, drink and be happy and this will protect them even being infected with tzaraas because of their being hungry, like Mar Zutra.

To summarize: Zera Shimshon explains that the midrash was bothered by the wording of the pasuk, “Veadam ki yeheyeh beohr besoroh saais oh sapachas—A person, when there will be on the skin of his flesh ‘saais oh sapachas,’” because this implies that it is unavoidable that people will contract tzaraas. How can it be that it is written in the Torah that people will certainly violate it? He explains that this is not a question and the midrash quotes another pasuk that also implies that the Torah knows that people will surely violate it. “Nachonim lalaitzim shevatim—Punishments are ‘on standby’ for people who mock … ” also implies that “punishment” knows that people will surely violate the Torah and is just waiting for the time to execute the punishment.

The midrash continues to say that Bnei Yisroel were very scared when they heard that they will inevitably sin and will have to suffer being infected by tzaraas. Moshe, however, reassured them that the terrible suffering of tzaraas is reserved only for nations who in the end of days will not accept Hashem’s rule and the tzaraas in this world is only a type of atonement for certain types of aveiros. Therefore, Bnei Yisroel will not have to suffer with tzaraas as long as they are careful to keep the Torah.

The last question of the Zera Shimshon is: Why does the midrash stress that in the end of days—when the idolatrous nations will contract tzaraas—the Jewish nation will eat, drink and be happy? He answers that it is because if they won’t eat, they might also contract tzaraas not because of their misdeeds, but simply because of their hunger.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles