Thursday, April 14, 2016

tiferes shlomo on parshas metzorah

It’s very hard to devote the needed time and energy to learn Parshas Metzora when Pesach is rapidly approaching and you are either busy cleaning your house or packing your bags to go to some resort.

The Radomsker in Tiferes Shlomo sees the kohen who is charged with being metaheir the metzorah as an archetype representing the tzadik, the talmid chacham, the rebbe, who can bring redemption and healing to the individual who is outside the camp, afflicted, conflicted, lost.

Our parsha opens with a seeming contradiction: on the one hand, “v’huva el ha’kohen,” (14:2) the metzorah has to be brought to the kohen, yet on the other hand, “v’yatzah ha’kohen el m’chutz lamachaneh,” (14:3) the kohen has to go out to the metzorah. Which is it? See Netziv for a pshat approach, but in line with the Tif Shlomo perhaps the Torah is alluding to the idea that rehabilitating those outside our camp involves meeting them halfway.  The metzorah has to do his/her part to rejoin the community, but the community needs to go out and encourage and welcome the metzorah’s return as well.

Tif Shlomo reads “v’shav ha’kohen…” (14:39) as meaning more than just a return checkup by the kohen.  He reads it as an allusion to teshuvah. This shifts responsibility from the metzorah to the kohen.  Rather than the burden of repentance resting exclusively on the sinner, it also rests on the one who wants to bring the metzorah back.  Whether by means of serving as an example or by generating energy in higher olamos that affect this world, the kohen’s own return is what precipitates the metzorah’s teshuvah. 

The Tiferes Shlomo goes one step further.  “V’yatzah ha’kohen… v’hinei nirpah negah tzara’as min ha’tzaru’ah” (14:3): 1) Why add the words, “min hatzaru’ah” -- obviously it is the person who had tzara’as who has been healed?  (Again, see Netziv) 2) Why “nirpah,” in the passive voice, as if the healing just happened on its own? The Rishonim explain that the suffering of the metzorah is a punishment for sin; therefore, shouldn’t the healing be a function of his teshuvah, not something that just happens? 

Tif Shlomo inverts means and end. Instead of seeing the metzorah's suffering as a means to elicit his teshuvah and the kohen's visit as a spot-check, the Tif Shlomo sees the suffering of the metzorah as a means to bring the kohen out, to draw the kohen to him.  "V'yatzah ha'kohen" is the goal.  M'meila, "nirpah nega tzara'as" once the kohen's mercy and rehabilitative power is elicited.  "Min hatza'ruah," from this tragic situation of tzara'as comes an opportunity for goodness and growth.

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