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PARASHAT HASHAVUA:

Parshas Tazria/Shabbat HaChodesh

Candelighting 4/04/08 - 7:06 PM (DST New York City)
Parshas Tazria/Shabbat HaChodesh
Living Our Religion
Rabbi Chaim Lobel 
YI of Aberdeen, NJ
 

 

(Leviticus; chapter 13, verse 2 - 3) "If a person will have on the skin of his flesh a rising, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it forms a Tzoraas (leprosy) affliction, he shall be brought to Aaron the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), or to one of his sons, the Kohanim (Priests). And the Kohein shall look at the plague in the skin of his flesh; if the hair in the affliction has turned white, and the appearance of the plague is deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is the plague of Tzoraas; and the Kohein shall look on plague, and pronounce the person Tamei (impure).”
 
It is clear that the Kohanim (Priests) were given single authority in judging the status of one stricken with Tzoraas. It was they who determined if the individual was Tamei and needed to be quarantined.
 
The Medrash Tanchuma (Tazria 6) relates an incident regarding this matter. It was when a specific Kohen, an expert regarding the matters of Tzoraas, was looking to leave the land of Israel for purposes of earning a livelihood. The Kohein told his wife, due to the fact that the masses rely on his expertise, it would be difficult to depart. The Kohein suggested that he teach his wife the proper laws and she would replace him. He started by explaining how an individual’s hair, which can be stricken with Tzoraas, is judged. The Kohein explained, “with every single hair G-d also created a source (Maayan) of where the hair receives its nourishment. If the source is dry, not giving nourishment to the hair, that means the hair and the person was stricken with Tzoraas.”
 
Upon completion of the lesson, the wife replied to her husband, the Kohein, “If every hair created by G-d has its own source of nourishment, so it can function, certainly G-d will provide a proper living for a man who has many hairs, components, and, most importantly, children relying on their father for sustenance; a source, so they can receive proper nourishment.” This logical response did not allow the wife to permit her husband to leave Israel and look for livelihood.
 
It appears the Kohein's wife needed to prove that G-d is the source of all sustenance in order prevent her husband from leaving. Why was this necessary to prove? Is it not the foundation of Jewish knowledge that G-d “gives nourishment to all living, for his kindness endures forever” (Psalms 136)?
 
Obviously, such a learned priest knew that G-d is the source of all sustenance. But he needed his wife to bridge what he “knew” to what he “felt.” Through a simple logical proof, he understood, on an emotional level, that G-d would provide for him and his family.
 
Frequently, we have knowledge and confidence in our minds but doubt in our hearts. But if we take the time to understand what we already know and believe, our hearts will follow our minds and our actions will follow our beliefs.
Shabbat Shalom

***

Rabbi Chaim Lobel is the Rabbi of Young Israel of Aberdeen, Congregation Bet Tefilah, Aberdeen, NJ. http://www.yiaberdeen.com/index.html


 
   
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