Weekly Parsha Review Laced with Humor and Sarcasm from The Oisvorfer Ruv

Metzoira 2014 – Dishonorable Discharges

Capture1We begin this week with wishes of mazel tov to our friends Chani and Jay Kestenbaum upon the wedding earlier this week of their son Benjy to Ati Levine. The wedding was magnificently beautiful, elegant and extremely spirited. The Kestenbaums are almost out of inventory; only one single son left, alas he’s only 17 years old.

Kudos to Altchie Pelcovitz, party planner extraordinaire who can be reached at altchie@aol.com

Raboyseyee and Raboyseyettes:

Dishonorable Discharges:

Strap in and buckle up; we’re about to meet some of the more colorful characters that Sefer Vayikra has to offer. None are mentioned by name but rest assured that you will not soon forget them. Let’s quickly meet Mr. or Mrs. Metzoira (they got a parsha named after themselves), Mr. or Mrs. Zav and Zava, Master, if you chap, or Mr. Motzie Shicvas Zera(levatol at times), and Mrs. Nidda. We’ll get to know them better shortly. And now that we have your attention, let’s learn some parsha.


This week, we’ll discuss discharges.Not from the hospital, a nursing home, the military or even from prison. We will? Ober halt zicheyn (keep your pants on): grada, that’s usually a good way to prevent discharges, if you chap, though not always.  Discharged from where, you must be klerring? Nu, the heylige Toirah does not disappoint, and if the RBSO decided to include discharges in His heylige Toirah, avada we must learn the sugya (subject). Efsher you’re longing for and miss terribly the exciting stories we read back in Sefer Bereishis about individuals, their challenges, successes and foibles. Ober not to worry, Parshas Metzoira, read alone this year without its sister parsha of Tazria, is not at all boring.


What’s a metzoira you ask? Nu, because you were so busy looking for the seven chambers that your eishes chayil or significant other is supposed to have somewhere in her holy grail, mistama you forget that in plain English, a metzoira is a person who has Tzora’as. We spoke about tzora’as last week, check it out at www.oisvorfer.com.  The first four aliyos of the parsha  are taka dedicated to his healing, purification and return to the camp. Ober this year we will focus on other characters not specifically mentioned by name but mamish central to the parsha. They are found at chamishi (5th aliya), closer to the end of the parsha, the part you never get to because you long lost concentration while engrossed in loshoin horo talk with your chaver. Don’t you remember that Miriam, Moishe’s sister got Tzora’as for speaking loshoin horo? Not to worry: she recovered! In any event, a series of commandments which surround these mystery people, made for a whole lot of interesting Gemora and medrish discussion. We’’ll learn some of them below. Because they are a shtikel graphic, the Oisvorfer will, instead of giving his own spin, quote them verbatim (almost). Of course you will find a shtikel commentary along the way. There are many, way too many for this short (joke) review ober we’ll try to cover a few interesting highlights.


Let’s meet the fab five. Each of them is Tomay (impure) for a different reason. The Metzoira was introduced last week, the others are found beginning this week. Say hello to the ‘Yoiledes’ (a women who gave birth to either a boy or girl), the ‘Zav’, the ‘Zava’ (male and female leakers), and the ‘Nida’ (she in her menstrual cycle and beyond). Oh and let’s not forget the emitter. And what do they all have in common? They all, says the heylige Gemora, belong to a subset of tum’a known as “tumois-hayotzois-migufo” (the source of tum’a is the body of the tamei). In plain English: something coming out of them renders them impure. Seemingly, things going in for some of the group are ok, if you chap. Shoin! The bottom line: they are impure. Not by coming into contact with something else, or something they contracted from the outside, but as a result of a body condition where something came out of them. And what is that something? Chap nisht, you’re about to be enlightened. Veyter.

The action, as we said, picks up as the heylige Toirah turns its attention to other people who are impure. They include – the zav (literally the flow), a man with an unusual penile emission; a man who had a regular seminal emission; the niddah, the woman who has menstruated; and the zava, the woman who has had an irregular flow of blood. The Toirah says all that? Not exactly but of course the heylige Mishnah, the Gemora and myriad medroshim fill in the blanks. Nu, do you see why it’s important to learn the heylige Gemora daily and why hundreds of thousands do so all over world?

Says the heylige Toirah (Vayikro 15:2) azoy: Speak to the Children of Israel and say to them: Any man, should there be a discharge from his body, [because of his discharge] he is impure. A later posik will discuss female discharges. In other words: a he or she, who has a flow from their bodies, is a Zav or Zava.  A flow? What the hec is a flow? Nu, for now, a flow is a discharge. And shreklich as it sounds, the heylige Toirah discuses those very discharges you are most familiar with, chazerim that you are. We’re talking semen, indeed we are. Or are we? And if not exactly semen, it epes looks like semen, ver veyst. And we’re talking blood, Welcome to the laws of the Zav and Zava, the male and female offenders. Who are they? They are the discharges and because they are discharged, they are tomay. Is that so giferlich? Weren’t most of you discharging zav in high school and ever since, if you chap? Wasn’t the rebbe zaving all over himself when he approached you with his shtekin? Let’s go veyter.

And who were the experts that chapped what the heylige Toirah meant? The heylige Gemora of course and lommer lernrin (Niddah Daf 35): A zav is a man who has an emission similar to, but not identical to, a seminal discharge. He is tomei and he transmits tumah only through contact. What to do? He immerses in a mikvah on the same day and he is tahor (pure) by nightfall. (Of course this assumes that the mikveh itself is not full of zav from the last pervert who dipped in, if you chap. This also assumes he emitted only once. Shoin! But…..if he experiences two emissions, he is upgraded and now classified as an ‘av hatumah’. His ability to transmit tuma through contact and by being carried, are upgraded as well. He must observe seven clean days and then immerse in spring water. Interestingly enough, a woman does not require spring water; any mikveh water will do.  That for another day. And as expected, there is also the case of the zav that discharges three times. We’ll call him lucky! In any event, the three-time offender will need to bring a korban (sacrifice) as part of his purification process. Of course there are loopholes in counting and says the Gemora that if one of the three emissions was caused by stimulus, whatever that means, that one discharge does not count towards the three that would require a korban. In other words: stimulated discharges do not count towards the Zav count.


Ober what is a discharge that epes looks like semen but may efsher not be real semen? Said Rav Huna azoy: The discharge of a zav resembles the dough water of barley. The discharge of the zav issues from dead flesh- meaning a limp organ, while the real thing, semen,  issues from live flesh – meaning an erect organ. Shoin, no further commentary required; all you chazerim know exactly what Rav Huna meant. Ober he continues: The discharge of a zav is watery and resembles the white of a spoiled egg, while semen is viscous and resembles the white of a sound egg. You hear this Raboyseyee?


Said Rashi who is quoted verbatim, azoy:  “I might have thought, a discharge from any place [in the body] would make him impure, Therefore the verse says “from his body” – and not all his body. Now after the verse distinguished between flesh and flesh (i.e. flows from different parts of the body), I might reason, that once [the Toirah] declared a man with a discharge unclean and a woman with a discharge unclean, (I would reason) that just like a woman with a discharge from the place [in her body] that she becomes unclean with a lesser impurity – the menstruating woman – so from that same place does she become impure with a stricter impurity – a discharge – likewise with a man, from the place (his sexual organ) from which he becomes impure with a lesser impurity – a seminal emission – from that same place he becomes impure from a greater impurity – a zav.”

And what does all that mean? Ver veyst. And why is Rashi discussing discharges from organs? Ver veyst? Seemingly, like in the army, not all discharges are the same; certain discharges are sanctioned and givaldig and certain, mistama the ones you knew best in high school, make a person impure. Wait, Rashi is not quite done, though you may be, if you chap. By logical analysis, Rashi concludes that the discharges mentioned above, refer to bodily fluids coming from the male or female organ of the person and not from any other discharge in the body. What’s pshat? Seemingly, puss from a wound or blood from the mouth does not render one impure.

Zicher not all discharges are the same. Discharge (zava) from a woman is blood ( verse 19), the same as the blood she discharges when she is menstruating (the lesser impurity). The difference is that menstruation comes at a more or less fixed time in the woman’s monthly cycle, while the Zava discharge comes any other time. But both are blood. For men there is a difference. His Zav discharge is not blood; it is a semen-like substance. But it is seemingly different from the healthy semen that is active in conception. Ok, a few more items of interest about the Zav.

A man who emits a discharge that may be Zav is “checked ” to determine whether or not he becomes a Zav. If the discharge came about b’Oines (accidentally but due to an external cause), he is Tahoir (pure). How does one discharge Zav accidentally? Says the heylige Gemora that such accidental emission can come about from seven external causes. 1. eating too much; 2. drinking too much; 3.carrying a heavy load; 4. jumping; 5. being sick; 6. (a) seeing a frightening sight (Rashi to Nazir 65b); (b) seeing a woman, even without having unclean thoughts (ROSH to Nazir ibid.); 7. having unclean thoughts. Nu, need more be said? Bottom line: mistama none of you qualify, nebech.


And what’s so giferlich (terrible) about an accidental discharge? And when was the last time you had an accidental discharge, you chazzir?  And when was the last time you called someone in to check your discharge so that it could be determined if the emission was of a seminal nature or just plain simple and unadulterated Zav? And whose job is it to inspect the discharge? And where does one train for a job like this? Ver veyst?


In any event, in order to start his purification process, a Zav, checking once in the morning and once towards evening (efsher by his high school Rebbe, must count seven clean days in which he experiences no discharge of Zav. On the seventh day or afterwards, he must immerse in spring water during the day. At nightfall he becomes Tahor, unless he suffered (or enjoyed) from yet another emission, if you chap.


Even if the first time was b’Oines, as long as the second emission was not, he is Tomay.  If he emitted Zav three times, whether it is emitted in one day or in two or three consecutive days, he has to bring a Korban after he becomes Tahor (on the eighth day) in order to enter the Beis ha’Mikdash and to eat Kodshim (holy food). The Korban is two Torim (turtledoves) or two B’nei Yonah (common doves), one offered as an Olah and one as a Chatas. But in case the chazir (pig) had three emissions, he is only obligated in a Korban if the first two  emissions were not b’Oines.

The bottom line is this: discharges of blood during the cycle and discharges of regular semen, especially if stimulated, are considered lesser impurities than the discharge of blood from a woman not during her cycle and the discharge of a semen-looking-like-substance at any time!  They are? And if emes, which it appears to be, this is more than givaldige news for most oisvorfs who take advantage. It appears and is seemingly not disputed, that regular seminal emissions, be they in the form of regular semen from a man or regular blood from a woman, are considered lesser impurities than are the emissions known as zav.

Does that make sense? Says the Ramban azoy: the difference between the lesser impurity (menstruation for a woman, and seminal emission for a man),  and the more severe impurity (zava for a woman and zav for a man) is that the latter must bring a korban (an offering) in the Temple when their days of purification have ended. For the lesser impurities there is no need to bring an offering. Noch a mol (one more time). Whereas a  Zav that has several emissions, three to be specific, needs to bring a korban, the average chazir that has three healthy emissions from an erect member, is exempt from having to bring a korban. Seemingly he has sacrificed enough, if you chap.

Though this may sound counterintuitive, says the Ramban azoy: The lesser impurities are natural biological processes. That is how the RBSO created humans. For these natural events, no offering is necessary. But the occurrence of a discharge (zav or zava) is not a natural event. They are signs of an illness. Illnesses strike a person, not accidentally, but by divine design. Therefore the individual is in need of forgiveness and repentance. Thus, a repeat offender, one with multiple unprovoked discharges, needs forgiveness in the form of a korban.

Oh and since we met the Zav, let’s also say hello to the Baal keri. Who is that? It’s you! Someone who emits semen once is a Baal Keri. Maybe it’s taka not you! In other words: a Ba’al Keri is a man who ejaculated and was required to immerse in a mikveh before learning Toirah and davening. A zav is someone who has two or more emissions. And the difference? The former is tomei until he immerses in a mikvah, and after that, needs only to wait for nightfall to be permitted to eat kodshim, assuming that’s what he wants to eat. The latter cannot purify himself in a mikvah until he has seven days with no emissions. And, if he had three emissions, he was of course a superstar but did subsequently needs to bring a korban before he could eat

kodshim again (holy food).Another difference: A Baal keri gets that status whether intentional or accidental, while a zav is only when it was accidental.

Given these very interesting laws the govern the Zav and Zava, efsher you’re wondering why daily mikveh dipping isn’t mandatory? Whatever happened to this halocha? Is the mikveh a dangerous place? It was when the Oisvorfer was growing up!

As stated above, no one chapped this topic more than the heylige Gemora; let’s then learn one more givaldige piece that will put your mind to rest. And because this topic is mamish so explosive, if you chap, the Oisvorfer has decided to quote (in English of course) this next portion. The sidebar comments are of course his.


Says the heylige Gemora (Yuma 88a) azoy:  One who experiences a seminal emission [inadvertently –adds  Rashi] on the day  of Yom Kippur, all his sins will be forgiven.” Is that all it takes? Is that why they instituted the davening break? Ver Veyst? Another Gemora states: “All his sins are arranged before him?” What does this expression “arranged before him mean?” [It doesn’t mean in order that he will be punished] but rather so that he will be forgiven. Ober before we answer, let’s see one more shtikel Gemora.


In the School of Reb Yishmael it was taught, one who experiences a seminal emission on the  day of Yom Kippur should worry the entire year [that he will be punished]. However if he survives the year, he is assured that he is deserving of the World to Come.


Rebbe Nachman bar Yitzchok(Yuma 88a) explained [why having a Yom Kippur emission could be  a sign of blessing]. The entire world is being deprived and yet he experiences satiation. When Reb Dimi came he said, he will have a long life, thrive and have many children if he has a seminal emission – inadvertently. All his sins are forgiven – it is a favorable sign that indicates he will have many children and long life. He should worry the entire year –  that the emission is a sign that his fast is not accepted since he is experiencing satiation.


This is like a servant who pours a cup for his master who throws it in his face. However if he survives the year and doesn’t die – then he possesses good deeds that are protecting him and thus he is deserving of the World to Come.Because you should know that the entire world is deprived of sexual relations while he is sexually satisfied and is not sexual deprived though not through his intent. Nevertheless if he survives the year that shows that he is completely righteous (tzadik gamur). His life is magnified – the one who has the emission on Yom Kippur is deserving of long life. He will multiply and become many – he will have children and grandchildren. As is alluded to in the Novee (Yeshaya 53:10): “you will see seed (seminal emission or children) and long life.”


Says the Mishna Berura(651.3) azoy: If he has a seminal emission he should worry the whole year [for punishment]. Because perhaps his fasting was not accepted because G‑d is showing him that He doesn’t desire his sexual abstention.


And said the Mogen Avraham(6:15:3): If he survives the whole year he is assured that he will get the World to Come. His survival for a year after a seminal emission on Yom Kippur indicates that he apparently is a tzadik and therefore did not need to afflict himself on Yom Kippur.

And the real bottom line is more good news: except for the laws of the Nidda, none of the laws are relevant today. Seemingly without the Beis Hamikdash and without the ability to bring a korban, seemingly we all remain Tomei and can seemingly enjoy or get away with multiple emissions; accidental or not.


A gittin shabbis

Yitz Grossman

The Oisvorfer Ruv

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