Shabbat Parashat Tazria Metzora | 5769
Tazria | 1 Iyar 5769 | 4/25/2009
After discussing all of the conditions that could make a person a metzora (loosely, a leper), the Torah prescribes for him several obligations: his clothes must be ripped (parum); his head must be wild (paruah- grow his hair long); he covers his lip (understood by many as not speaking); he must call out, “Tameh” (impure); he lives outside the encampment (Vayikra 13: 45-46). The first two elements are reminiscent of death, as a mourner rips his clothes and does not cut his hair.
The attached literature explains why we feel Jewish leaders, including rabbis, should take a leading role in promoting vegetarianism and veganism (not using animal products, including milk and eggs). We await your comments and feedback, as the rabbinic community is relatively silent on the matter. [We very briefly summarize the issues the question included. Readers are invited to learn more at www.JewishVeg.com (a site that was referenced) and react.] The billions of farmed animals produce more greenhouse gases than human transportation, contributing to the looming world ecological disaster, including flooding, heat waves, and droughts in places such as Israel. These animals require enormous amounts of water and animal feed, much of which could feed starving people. Wasting resources in this way violates bal tashchit (the prohibition to waste). Jews are not filling their leadership role of tikkun olam (improving the world). Also, most farming of animals is done in a cruel manner (tza’ar ba’alei chayim).
Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yossi ben Zimra: Whoever attributes merit to himself, will have the successful outcome attributed to the merit of another. Whoever attributes the merit to others, will have the successful outcome attributed to his merit. Moshe attributed the merit to others, as it says: “Remember Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yisrael, your servants” (Shemot 32:13).
The defendant (=def) divorced his wife, the plaintiff (=pl). They signed a settlement according to which def would pay pl $500 a month. There was a stipulation that if his income would go down, def’s payments would go down in a manner that considers the needs of both sides. Some time later, pl was fired from his job and, as a result, received severance pay. Pl wants to receive a percentage of the severance pay, as if it were regular salary. Def says that severance pay is like a present and that, in any case, pl does not deserve bigger payments because, during the time his salary was going down, pl was affluent enough to afford buying a new car.
This coming Sunday, B"H, we will complete Masechet Baba Kama. At the completion of a Masechet it is customary to say "Hadran Alach Masechet…"- we will return to you Masechet… It is also customary to say a Dvar Torah on the last passage of the Masechet, and this Dvar Torah is called "Hadran." There are even "Hadran" books containing Divrei Torah on the last passage of many Masechtot
This edition of Hemdat Yamim is dedicated to the memory of
R ' Meir ben Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld
Hemdat Yamim is
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l.
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).