Torah Weekly

For the week ending 20 April 2024 / 12 Nissan 5784

Parshat Mezora

by Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair -
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The Torah describes the procedure for a metzora (a person afflicted with tzara'at) upon the conclusion of his isolation period. This process extends for a week and involves korbanot and immersions in a mikveh. Then, a kohen must pronounce the metzora pure. A metzora of limited financial means may substitute lesser offerings for the more expensive animals. Before a kohen diagnoses that a house has tzara'at, household possessions are removed to prevent them from also being declared ritually impure. The tzara'at is removed by smashing and rebuilding that section of the house. If the tzara’at signs reappear, the entire building must be razed. The Torah details which bodily secretions render a person spiritually impure, and thereby prevent his contact with holy items. And the Torah defines how one regains a state of ritual purity.


Day Or Date

All Jewish festivals and commemorations are linked to the calendar date. We always celebrate Pesach on the fifteenth of Nissan, which this year falls out on a Tuesday even though at the time of the Exodus it was a Thursday.

The same is true of Sukkot, of Shavuot, of Chanuka, of Purim, of every Jewish remembrance – we always commemorate the calendar date not the day of the week - with one exception: Shabbat HaGadol.

What do we commemorate on Shabbat HaGadol and why don’t we celebrate it on its calendar date?

Hashem commanded the Jews that five days before the Exodus, they should take their lambs and tie them to the bedposts in preparation for the lambs to be slaughtered on the 14th of Nissan. The Paschal Lamb.

When the Egyptians saw them leading their lambs through the streets, they asked: "What is the lamb for?" The Children of Yisrael answered: "It is to be slaughtered as a Passover sacrifice as G‑d has commanded us." The Egyptians, for whom the lamb was a deity, gnashed their teeth in anger but miraculously could not utter a sound in protest or do anything to stop their gods being led away. This happened on the tenth of Nissan, which that year was Shabbat, and so we commemorate this miracle on the Shabbat before Pesach.

But this begs the question, why don’t we celebrate this miracle on the Tenth of Nissan, whatever the day of the week is in any particular year?

The Ba’al HaTurim says in Parshat Va’era, that all the plagues ceased on Shabbat. The Tenth of Tevet was during the plague of darkness. If the Jews has led their sheep through the street on any other day than Shabbat, the Egyptians wouldn’t have seen them, and there would have been no miracle.

But because it was Shabbat, and plague of darkness ceased temporarily, the Jews were in full view of the Egyptians, and nonetheless, they Egyptians were powerless to do a thing

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