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Parashat Hashavua - Parashat Tazria


  In the Parsha of Shmini, the Torah lists all the kosher animals suitable for consumption. Juxtaposed to this, is a long list of animals, birds and insects which are forbidden to eat. The Parsha of Tazria on the other hand, deals with the ritual impurities of the human body. The Torah speaks about the laws of animals before those of humans because that was the order of creation. Man was created after all the other animals. The major advantage man has over animals are his intellect and his ability to speak, from this we may learn a deep lesson in humility.

            Rabbi Yisroel Lipkin of Salant explains the connection between the Parsha of Shmini, concluding with what is forbidden and permitted to eat, to the Parsha of Tazria with ritual cleanliness.

            Chazal have already taught us that ritual uncleanliness is mainly the result of loshon hora. Nevertheless. just look and see how bnei yisroel relate to this terrible sin. While most people are so cautious with the foods they consume and are ever so meticulous is checking their food from preventing themselves from eating a tiny worm, they fail to beware of "ravishing" human beings. They "chew them up" with loshon hora and malicious gossip without any guilt whatsoever.

            The Ramban sees a very strong connection between these two parshios. The Parsha of Shmini ends with the laws of unkosher animals, insects and rodents which are forbidden to eat. The Parsha of Tazria begins with the ritual uncleanliness of a woman who gives birth. The juxtaposition of the two parshios teaches us how important it is to watch what we eat. If we belittle the kashrus of the foods we eat and we eat in forbidden foods, this is liable to cause severe mental and physical damage to a newborn child.

            The creation of human life is the most exalted event in the world. With this act, man and woman become partners with Hashem who gives the soul to the child. This creation ,however, begins with ritual impurity, stressing that the ordinary element of life is not enough. Life must be an implement with which to serve Hashem. Birth is the beginning of the privilege of raising children to a life of dedication to Hashem and Kedusha.

            The Parsha of Tazria, which involves conception, comes right after the pesukim which say,והתקדשתם והייתם קדשים sanctify yourselves and you shall be holyוהייתם קדשים  you shall therefore be holy, to teach us that if a person sanctifies himself during marital relations then he will be worthy of having virtuous children. (Shevuos 2)

אשה כי תזריע וילדה זכר  - If a woman has conceived seed and bears a son (12:22)

            The first letter of each of the words:  make up the words כי תזריע וילדה זכר. The torah thereby alludes to the fact that usually the righteousness of sons are in the merit of the mother. Women who purify their thoughts and their deeds, merit sons who are pure and holy. (Chida) 

            The previous Parsha of Shmini ends with the words :  להבדיל בן הטמא ובין הטהור , and the beginning of this parsha brings forth once more the mitzvah of Bris Mila.

            According to R' Yonasan Eibshitz of Prague, the juxtaposition of these two parshios teaches us that the Mitzvah of Mila, which is an eternal covenant between Avraham, Yitzchok, Yaakov, and  and Hakodosh Baruch Hu, is the dividing factor between the pure and the impure, which are the other nations and Bnei Yisroel.

            R' Binyomin Halevi in his work "Imrei Binyomin" expounds: During the fulfillment of the mitzvah of the mila, the entire congregation declares: כשם שנכנת לברית, כן יכנס לתורה לחופה ולמעשים טובים.  Just as he enters into this covenant, so should he enter into torah, chuppa, and good deeds.

            It is not by chance that this is declared specifically at the bris mila. The mitzvah of mila is unique in that every member of klal yisroel will never part from this mitzvah, unlike other mitzvos where there is no guarantee that he will adhere to them faithfully all his life. As Hillel hazakein tells us in pirkei avos :  אל תאמין בעצמך עד יום מותך Do not believe in yourself until the day of your death.

            We thus bless the newborn  as he enters into the covenant of Avraham Avinu: "Just as you enter into the bris and you are bonded to it all the days of your life, so shall you enter into Torah, Chuppah and good deeds, and be bound to them faithfully all the days of your life.



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