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The Unbirth

12/04/13 10:21:42


R Pesach Siegel

Parshas Tazria opens with the laws of a woman who has given birth to a child. If it is a male child she is ritually impure for a period of seven days following the birth. On the eighth day the child is to be circumcised. On the fortieth day she brings a korban. If it is a female child she is ritually impure for fourteen days. On the eightieth day she offers a korban.


The vast majority of the parshah deals with the laws of one who is found to have tzara’as.




Why is it that the parshah dealing primarily with the laws of tzara’as begins with the laws of birth?


What is the connection between childbirth and tzara’as?


It gives the impression that the laws of childbirth are a form of introduction to the laws of tzara’as.




Chazal teach us that there are numerous types of people who appear alive, but are in reality dead (a blind person, a poor man, one who has no children).


A metzora falls under this category.


Miriam is recorded to be the first to publicly suffer from tzara’as in Parshas

Beha’aloscha.  The Torah compares a metzora to a baby dying at childbirth due to half of the baby’s flesh being consumed during birth.


Those who have tzara’as rip their clothing just as mourners do. Tthey are not permitted to shave, and they must shout “Impure! Impure!” whenever someone comes near to them.


They are completely alienated from society as if they did not exist at all.  In other words, they are dead in the eyes of everyone near them.


In Parshas Breishis, the Torah records how Adam saw everything on earth had a counterpart or a partner. Hashem responded to Adam, “Lo tov heyos ha’adam levado” - It is not beneficial for man to be in solitude. Hashem then fashioned Adam’s wife, Chava.  


The gemara (Kiddushin page 29B) elaborates on G-d’s point that entities are not meant to be alone by stating as follows:  Those who push off marriage cause their bones to rot.  The understanding for this is that a person’s bones which are the foundation and structure for one’s body, weaken, therefore making the person structure-less.  The entire purpose of creation is to be in a partnership.  Consequently when a person delays marriage, he is acting against the way of nature and therefore alienating himself from the purpose of creation. He is going against the purpose of his own structure.


The purpose for human creation is unification.  Speech is the most powerful form of amalgamation.  Speech takes the thoughts of the mind and channels them into this world.  The human is the bridge between the upper world and lower world.  Our speech is the bond between shamayim (the giving heavens which represents masculinity) and aretz (earth which represents femininity).  Before Chava was created, there was no bridge between shamayim and aretz.  Adam did not have anyone to speak to thus impeding his ability to connect the two worlds.




The Torah (Shoftim Perek 20 Pasuk 19) says “When besieging a city it is forbidden to destroy any fruit trees because a man is a tree.”  The Bnei Yisoschar explicates this line explaining that man is similar to a tree.  There are three aspects to a tree.  A tree has its nourishment located below the tree within its roots which are not visible.  This nourishment (sap) flows within the tree itself which is visible and results in the growth of the fruits, a byproduct of the tree.  Similarly by man, a man has his nourishment which is located in his mind (just like the sap in the tree), an aspect of man hidden from everyone else.  Then there is the man’s body which is nourished by the mind resulting in mans’ actions (or words), the byproducts of man, and there is a process which brings the nourishment from the source to the bearer of the fruits.


It is written in the beginning of creation that there is a Nahar (river) that springs forth. Its source is in Eden. From there it flows forth to water the Gan.  If we take the rashei teivot (first letter of each word – Eden, Nahar, Gan) of the words in this passage, we spell out the word oneg.  Oneg is the enjoyment we receive from connecting this world and the  world above. 


When G-d breathed life in Adam, the posuk states that he became a living creature. The Targum Unkelos translates that passage that he became a “speaking” creature. Speech is the ability of connecting the two worlds, the spiritual and the physical. We are born to this task. Life without speech is not life. (Perhaps this is why a deaf/mute is absolved from performing the commandments).


When a person speaks lashon hara, he rearranges the word Oneg into the word Nega meaning affliction. This is because a Metzora goes against the direction and flow of creation by breaking the connection from this world to the above world.  When a person

speaks lashon hara he brings tumah (impurity) into this world. This is the opposite of the purpose of creation.


One who abuses the power of speech, rather than joining Hashem’s world into one cohesive unit, is rending it asunder. He is no longer fit to join together with others,  hence he must leave the community of man. He is betraying the purpose for which he was granted life, so in effect, he is a dead man, and the rituals of mourning must be observed.


Now we can understand why the beginning of Parshas Tazria opens with the laws of birth/pregnancy. Hashem is telling us that the purpose of our birth is to connect all of creation under one Master. One who becomes a metzora due to the sin of evil slander is "uncreating" himself and is like one who reverses the process of his own birth.


When we speak negatively we cause dissonance in creation, which runs counter to the whole point of our existence!

Sun, September 20 2020 2 Tishrei 5781