Shabbat Parashat Tazria-Metsora| 5765
Tazria | | 1/2/2004
Our two parshiyot deal with a variety of tumot, which we usually translate as impurities. Tumah comes in different forms and stems from different sources. It can come from contact with the dead or from being afflicted by tzara’at, which can loosely be translated as leprosy. Our tendency is to think that the more tamei something is, the more defiled and lowly it is. But the truth is almost the opposite, as we will briefly demonstrate.
We are now in the midst (according to all opinions) of the time when we commemorate the death of Rabbi Akiva’s talmidim, whose sin was that they did not show respect one to another. How bad a sin could that be (and what does this have to do with Jewish civil law)?
Nefesh Hachayim (R. Chayim of Volozhin) stresses how natural reward and punishment are in this world as well. Since he explains how a person’s deeds create or destroy cosmic worlds, it only stands to reason that the deed-doer should himself be affected by his own actions. R. Yisrael Salanter and the Mesilat Yesharim explain the idea of reward and punishment in this world, which the Torah describes as physical, as follows.
This edition of
A weekly divrei Torah leaflet: A Glimpse at the Parasha, Ask the Rabbi, From the writings of Harav Avraham Yitzchak Hakohen Kook, zt”l, Pninat Mishpat (Jewish Monetary Law).