Raboyseyee & Ladies,
A busy week of simchas it has been and so continues.
In a few hours, the heylige Ois and eishes chayil will be joining Tracie and Sam Shore at the Pidyon Haben for their new grandson, Yehuda Ephraim Shore, born to their children, Ryan and Rivky Shore. Mazel tov to the entire Shore family and may your new grandson be a source of continuous nachas to his parents, grandparents and both extended families.
This past Tuesday evening, we joined in sheva brochis hosted by friends of Esther and Boruch Weinstein in honor of the wedding -last week- of Lily Lightman to Ben Weinstein. One more mazel tov shout out to the entire Weinstein and Lightman families. May Ben and Lily be zoche (merit) to enjoy many decades of very blissful marriage together.
A big mazel tov to Alex Mantofel upon his recent wedding this past Sunday -over in Boca Raton- to his beautiful bride Stephanie Lowenstein. May you both be blessed to enjoy many decades of blissful marriage. You will surely raise a beautiful family together. Mazel tov to both extended families.
The bad news: Richter Caterers no longer taking reservations for Orlando delivery. The good news: if you call Chaim on his cell and ask nicely, he will still squeeze in a few last orders onto his trailer. As well, he can accommodate orders for local delivery. Chaim’s cell: 646-932-2265. https://richtercaterers.com/menu/
More good news: if you are last minute person or family, the Ois just got word that a few rooms -mamish- are still available at Pesach with Chef Flam over at the Hilton in Somerset, New Jersey, https://www.passoverlistings.com/listing/pesach-with-chef-flam-passover-program-2022-in-somerset-new-jersey/
Elon Musk, Twitter, Liquidity Events, Dishonorable Discharges, Marisa Tomei, and More:
Welcome to Shabbis Hagodol and to Parshas Metzoira, being read this year without its sister parsha of Tazria. That being stated, the two remain connected as you will soon read below. And because it’s also Shabbis Hagodol (the big shabbis) though our sages struggle mightily to explain its significance and why it’s so titled (other than it’s the last one before Pesach vacation), the heylige Ois threw in a few more titles of his own to impress you. Not to worry, he has no intention of discussing any at length. The Ois will tie them together without the use of special thread, an item also mentioned in the parsha. More on thread below. As an aside, the source of the term ‘shabbis hagodol’ is not found in the heylige Toirah, Tanach or Talmudic literature, though in the Middle Ages a number of exegetes occupied themselves with explaining the origin of the term and posited different theories; those for another day. Veyter and let us begin.
Since Elon Musk made headlines this week -what else is new- by taking a position in Twitter, and since Twitter’s logo features a bird, and since it so happens that our parsha also features two birds, let’s discuss that connection. Because Twitter spreads real and not so real information -as well as lots of loshon horo, and since, according to some who pontificated on this week’s parsha, but zicher not all- one was afflicted with tzora’as (and became a metzoira) as a result, now is a good time to mention that two birds play a role in the cleansing process of the afflicted. The bottom line? Says the heylige Ois with his perspicacious thinking, azoy: Everything, including Twitter and its logo, harken back to the heylige Toirah. Shoin, let’s finish this topic with the following information.
We quote from the heylige Gemora (Eyrechin 15b–16a) which tells us azoy: said Rebbe Yoichonon in the name of Rebbe Yosei ben Zimra: One who bears evil tales will be visited with the plague of tzo’ra’as. Reish Lokish (a reformed highway robber, proving that anyone can change) said azoy: What is the meaning of the verse “This shall be the law of the metzoira?” It means: This shall be the law for him who is motzi shem-ra (‘gives a bad name’ through slander).” Bottom line: once visited by tzora’as, one needs cleansing and the process involves two birds. The birds do what? Once contaminated and labeled a metzoira, the purification process -as mentioned with specificity in the parsha, involved two birds, spring water in an earthen vessel, a piece of cedar wood, a scarlet thread, and a bundle of hyssop. All are used to purify -in some difficult to chap manner ritual- one who has become afflicted with tzo’ra’as. What is tzo’ra’as and why does one become so afflicted? How does it manifest? Does tzo’ra’as still manifest in our times? Can it be prevented? Is there a vaccine? A booster efsher? Is it mamish a disease and can one taka become purified by using the above-mentioned items in some holy mixture and ritual? Why is the Koihen (priest) involved and does he get paid for the house call? And just how is Twitter and its logo related to our parsha? Says Rashi (Vayikro 14:4) and the heylige Gemora: two birds were required because the plague of tzo’ra’as comes for punishment for evil- talk, which is an act of chattering. Therefore, birds were needed for his purification. Why birds? Because they chatter continuously with a twittering sound. Bazman hazeh (in our times), Twitter does exactly that. Veyter!
Ober, does everyone agree that one becomes afflicted with tzora’as -or did, back in temple times- as a result of loshoin horo? Not! And why was tzora’as discontinued? Ver veyst? Oib azoy, it that’s the case, what other reasons are proffered for one becoming so afflicted? 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 & Zava, Mrs. Nida and Mr. Motzie Shicvas Zera (levatolo at times). More on him later. Yes, indeed, they all make an appearance this week in the RBSO’s heylige Toirah. And now that we have your attention, let’s learn some parsha.
Parshas Metzoira is mostly about discharges. Not from the hospital, a rehab facility, a nursing home, the military or even from prison. Ober halt zich eyn (keep your pants on): grada, that’s usually a good way to prevent certain discharges, if you chap, though not all, and zicher 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 our parsha, 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 our forefathers and other individuals, their challenges, successes and foibles. Ober not to worry, Parshas Metzoira is liquid, it’s not at all dry and zicher not boring.
What’s a metzoira you ask again? 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 our parsha are dedicated to his/her healing, purification, and a return to the camp. Camp is good. This year, and as we’re about to put a bow around year twelve of mamish informative parsha posts, filled with excellent content and a fair amount of humor and sarcasm (yet another shameless plug), 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 Ois will quote them verbatim (almost). Of-course you will find a shtikel commentary along the way. As you can imagine there are many, way too many for this short review. We’ll cover a few interesting highlights.
Shoin, let’s meet the fab five. Each of them is tomay (impure) for a different reason, perhaps one or more for having wild thoughts about Marisa Tomei -as she was in the classic movie, My Cousin Vinny. Guilty as charged! Veyter. The Metzoira was introduced last week, the others are found beginning this week. Say hello to the ‘yoiledes’ (a woman 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. What have they all have in common? They all, says the heylige Gemora, belong to a subset of tum’a (impurity) 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: these people have become 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, and the woman who has had an irregular flow of blood. An unusual penile emission? The Toirah says all that? Not exactly but the heylige Mishnah, the Gemora and myriad medroshim do and mamish fill in the blanks. Filling in the blanks is davka good thing, if you chap. 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? For now, a flow is a discharge. And shreklich as it sounds, the heylige Toirah discusses the very discharges you are most familiar with, say it’s not so please but it is. 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 dischargers and because they discharged, they are tomay. Is that so giferlich? Yikes! Haven’t most of you been discharging zav since high school and ever since, if you chap? And isn’t it emes that at times, certain rebbes were zaving all over themselves? Shoin, that for another day, another session with your local therapists. Veyter.
The bottom line: the heylige Toirah mentions all the dischargers by name but still we needed experts who chapped just what the heylige Toirah meant. Who might those be? 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 perv who dipped in, if you chap.) This also assumes he emitted only once that day. Shoin! But…..adds the heylige Toirah and expounded by the heylige Gemora azoy: 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 who discharges three times. We’ll call him lucky! In any event, the three-time discharger 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. Gishmak!
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; you all chap 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 chap 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, it’s like the army where not all discharges are the same; certain discharges are sanctioned and givaldig and certain, mistama the ones you are more than familiar with since your teens years and ‘ad hayoim hazeh’ (until the present), 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; 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. Need more be said? Bottom line: it seems that many discharge! 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?
In any event, in order to start his purification process, a zav, checking once in the morning and once towards evening 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 the case where one had three emissions, he is only obligated in a Korban if the first two emissions were not b’Oines.
The good news: 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 of the law. 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 had several emissions, three to be specific, needs to bring a korban, the average emitter who has three healthy emissions from an erect member, is exempt from having to bring a korban. He’s seeming in good standing, if you chap and has seemingly 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 the very interesting laws that govern the zav and zava, efsher you’re wondering why daily mikveh dipping isn’t mandatory? Whatever happened to this halocho? Is the mikveh a dangerous place? It was when the Ois was growing up! As stated above, no one chapped this topic more than the heylige Gemora; let’s then learn one more gevaldige piece that will put your mind to rest. And because this topic is mamish so explosive, if you chap, the Ois 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 Yishmoel; 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 sexually 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.
The real bottom line is more good news: except for the laws of the Nidda, none of the above-mentioned laws are relevant today. Without the Beis Hamikdash and without the ability to bring a korban, we all remain tomei and can seemingly enjoy or get away with multiple emissions; accidental or not.
A gittin Shabbis Hagodol-
The Heylige Oisvorfer Ruv