Thursday, April 23, 2020

Notes from the Underground -- erev Shabbos + Rosh Chodesh Iyar

The parsha tells us that the metzora would have to sit isolated in his bunker for seven days to see if his nega would heal.  Why davka seven days?  R' Leibel Eiger writes in Imrei Emes that Shabbos is the source of all refuah -- Shabbos can transform the lowest of the low, the nega, into oneg, oneg Shabbos.  You can't have seven days without a Shabbos, so the metzora needs seven days.  If one Shabbos is not enough, so he waits for a second Shabbos, another seven days. 

Shabbos has the power to bring us the refuah we need, b'frat, as R' Leibele Eiger writes, this Shabbos, where the parsha contains the words "nirpeh nega hatzara'as..., and I would add b'frat Shabbos Rosh Chodesh Iyar, roshei teivos "Ani Hashem Rofecha."

K'nega nirah li ba'bayis -- Chazal say that even if the person knows for sure that it's a nega, he should still use the kaf ha'dimyon and not say so with certainty.  The masorah brings that there is one other pasuk in Tanach that uses that expression "nirah li" -- "mei'rachok Hashem nirah li Hashem."  The Ba'al haTurim (see also Agra d'Kallah) connects the two: when you see something from a distance, it is unclear, you can't be certain what it is.  So too, when you come with your nega, don't judge things in advance and don't be certain things are as they appear to you.  Just show it to the kohen and let him pasken.
Chazal (see Kli Yakar who quotes this Yalkut) interpret this parsha homiletically as referring to the churban of Beis haMikdash.  Hashem comes to the kohen, to Yirmiyahu haNavi, and says that his house is filled with negaim, with the avodah zarah that the people have put in to defile it. 
The sefer She'eiris Menachim (two doses of it this week) puts these two Chazals together.  Hashem certainly knows what's going on in the Beis haMikdash, Hashem sees how things have been defiled.  But when speaking about Eretz Yisrael, when speaking about the Beis haMikdash, when speaking about Klal Yisrael, even Hashem does not say "nega" -- it's just "k'nega," with the kaf ha'dimyon.  Hashem does not want to be the one to say affirmatively, with complete certainty, that the makom Mikdash, that Eretz Yisrael, that Klal Yisrael is bad.
Mah hu -- af atah.  The lesson is obvious.

R' Tzadok haKohen (Pri Tzadik #5 l'girsas ha'Geonim) quotes from Sefer Yetzira that the month of Iyar corresponds to the letter vav.  You can't have a mattan Torah in Sivan without the freedom from the arayos and avodah zarah of Mitzrayim in Nisan; you can't have the freedom of Pesach without "ta'avdun es ha'Elokim al ha'har ha'zeh" of Sivan to control it.  Iyar is the vav ha'chibur that connects the two holidays.  It's when we work on acquiring for ourselves the gifts Hashem gave to us through is'arusa d'l'eila on Pesach so that we are prepared to be a kli kibul for Torah on Shavuos. 

I would suggest that the vav ha'chibur means working on the connection between each other.  As we discussed, Pesach was the first step -- to take a korban with "shecheino ha'karov el beiso," recognizing your neighbor should be close; that was when the Tanaim sat up darshening "kol oso ha'layla," oso = os vav, the vav ha'chibur.  Shavuos is the culmination, the "k'ish echad b'lev echad."  But it takes work to get there.; it takes overcoming the "lo na'hagu kavod zeh la'zeh" that led to the demise of R' Akiva's students.  That's the avodah of Iyar -- to connect with each other, to not be "badad yeisheiv" like the metzora.  Even when you are convinced 100% that you are right and Ploni is dead wrong, remember it's only k'nega nirah li...  It really may only be 99%, if that much.  


  1. "You can't have seven days without a Shabbos"

    one for whom Shabbos healing comes near the start of his week of bunkering down, [his neshoma] heard Shabbos at Mara; he must spend though some weekdays (afterward) growing eager to embody its civic message of wholeness and peace. one for whom Shabbos comes at the end of his week [his neshoma] heard Shabbos only on Shabbos Shavuos b'midbar (command #4), the shock therapy Shabbos, the electroconvulsive experience of thunderclaps and shofar blasts and a Kol Gadol me'od me'od. he must (first) ponder for a number of weekdays the importance of 'the communal classroom' (Mara), of communal classroom ethics, to receive his quiet Shabbos healing at the end...

  2. "The parsha tells us that the metzora would have to sit isolated in his bunker for seven days to see if his nega would heal."

    Adderaba, the metzora is the only person who's not *allowed* to be in the bunker :)

  3. those who were a "metzora" on Pesach, may find themselves sudden "neighbor[s]" to one another on the fourteenth of "Iyar" (Pesach Sheni); B"H, they can hold their first Recovery Group meeting while dining together on roasted lamb (with maror of course; no chametz allowed)...

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