Shiurim & Adult Education

Learning is a vital part of our ethos and vision and we would like to respond to our members needs and requirements. Initially the Dayan has established a programme offering weekly sessions for both men and women but please do let us know if you would like any additional learning sessions and we will do our best to find you a suitable chavruta.



THOUGHTS ON TAZRIA BY SIMON BRAUN

Tazria is normally coupled with Metzora but, as this is a leap year, we read the two parashot separately. They are largely taken up with an intricate description of identifying anyone who has contracted the disease of Tzora’at and explaining how the disease is dealt with. We are told by Chazal that Tzora’at is the punishment for speaking spitefully against our fellow man, otherwise known as Lashon Hara. For instance, it was Miriam who was stricken with Tzora’at after speaking ill of Moshe. When carefully focusing on the detailed analysis regarding Tzora’at, there are two particularly interesting verses worthy of particular attention.

In Chapter 13 v 2 the Torah states that when a person appears to have Tzora’at, ‘ … he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest or unto one of his sons the priests’. On the other hand, when we are later told about the type of Tzora’at that afflicts houses, it says that ‘the one to whom the house belongs shall come to the Cohen’. Why does the Torah describe the person with affliction being brought but the owner of the stricken house as coming on his own?

Rambam notes that Hashem first brings Tzora’at upon a person’s house and if he repents, the house is healed. However, if the person does not repent, his clothes are afflicted and if even this does not cause him to reconsider his ways, Hashem has no choice but to afflict the person’s body. Thus, when the Torah speaks of a person whose house has been afflicted, the Torah describes the person as coming to the Cohen of his own accord, seeking the root cause of his Tzora’at. But the person who has Tzora’at on his body has repeatedly ignored Hashem’s messages and continued to sin. Such a person fails to realise that he is spiritually ill. This person will not come voluntarily to the Cohen – he needs to be brought! We must always strive to recognise our own short comings at an early stage by voluntarily taking steps to better ourselves rather than refusing to recognise where we have fallen short and having to be forced into action by events outside our control.

In the following verse, another interesting question arises, ‘The Cohen shall look at the affliction… and the Cohen shall look at him and declare him contaminated’. Why does the verse state twice for no apparent need that the Cohen shall look at the affliction?  Isn’t it enough to look once? It is explained that when one looks at someone, he should see not only his blemishes, the places where he has been afflicted, but should view him as a whole person, with all his good points taken into account. Thus, although the Cohen must first examine the affliction, as it is his duty to do, he must afterwards look at the man as a whole person and see his strengths as well. This is a lesson well learnt as it is sometimes too easy to see someone’s blemishes or faults without seeing their good points and other positive attributes. It is these that we must always focus on which is what the Torah asks of us all.

Shabbat Shalom 

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