Raboyseyee and, of course, Raboyseyettes:
The eighth day: Redux
It’s taka emes that just last week, we learned Parshas Shimini which is all about the eighth day. This week we’ll learn about another eighth day, this one, mentioned in the Toirah way back in Bereishis: the bris on day 8. Efsher you’ve been wondering why the bris is taka on the 8th day and is there any significance to this number eight. Mistama nisht since at a bris, you’re primarily focused on breakfast, the omelet station and the lox, maybe even on a hot cinnamon danish This week the Oisvorfer will teach you a few new things; it won’t kill you to learn epes a shtikel Toirah.
We’re just about done with korbonis and it’s time for some straight talk about sex and childbearing. Vey iz mir: the heylige Toirah discusses sex? Nu, di emes iz (truth be told), mostly it discusses what and who not to do; it’s quite a long list and many of you chazerim would do well to chazir it over and again. Shoin: I see that I have your attention at the mere mention of sex ober Raboyseyee the parsha is not about sex at all. In fact, nowhere other than a shtikel mention way back in Parshas Bereishis where we learn that a man should cling to his wife, is there a discussion of what is permitted sexually, only what happens after. And after sex, what taka happens? Nu, a good amount of the time, especially by those without plans (di tinkele), a baby is born. Ober by inz Yiddin (us nice Jewish) people, avada ershtens (firstly) we get married and der nuch (afterwards) we have children. Welcome to Parshas Tazria, the front half of another springtime doubleheader wherein we learn all about menstruation, childbirth, and much more, and also to Parshas Metzora, which is about leprocy and according to many, its root cause: loshoin horo. It would take over 25 pages to mamish review these parshiois thoroughly but given that many of you suffer from severe ADD when it comes to learning the heylige Toirah, nebech, this week, after a good number of comments thanking The Oisvorfer for being mekatzer (shortening) the heylige Toirah review for the last few weeks, he (I) will try to limit himself to four, and efsher (maybe) five pages. Lommer unfangin (let’s begin). And Raboyseyee, do you realize that while you’re also learning and laughing, you’re also mamish learning a few holy Yiddish words, and what could be better? An added benefit mamish.
Said the RBSO to our Zeyda Avrohom Oveenu (Bereishs 17:12) “And throughout the generations, every male among you shall be circumcised at the age of eight days”. Ober like many commandments in the heylige Toirah, the RBSO never told our Zeyda why. Why not on lucky 7, why not on day 30 and why not on Shabbis? Why not at night, and so many other questions. And what has this to do with our parhsa? Nu, here in Parshas Tazria we learn as follows:
|Speak to the children of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives and gives birth to a male, she shall be unclean for seven days; as [in] the days of her menstrual flow, she shall be unclean.||
ב. דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וְטָמְאָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כִּימֵי נִדַּת דְּוֹתָהּ תִּטְמָא:
וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי יִמּוֹל בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ
Nu, mistama you have lots of questions and let’s taka try to chap pshat. Efsher you’re wondering why women get these menstrual cycles altogether, is this mamish necessary to put the women through such yisurim (unpleasantness)? Guess who knew the answer, at least one of them anyway? Says the heylige Gemora, that abstinence from marital relations during the wife’s seven unclean days is related to strengthening the bond between husband and wife. Asked and answered Rebbe Meir in a Berayso (Talmudic quote from the authors of the Mishnah): “Why did the Toirah dictate menstrual uncleanliness for seven days? Because he (the husband) grows accustomed to her (his wife), and tires of her; so the Toirah said, let her be unclean for seven days so that she again may be pleasing to her husband as when she first came under the bridal canopy” (Niddah 31b). Nu, mistama there are other reasons why the husband is no longer as attracted as he once was, but that for another time.
And as to the bris being performed on day 8, avada you’re not surprised to hear that there is more than one answer given, in fact there are three. The first, strengthening martial bonds, was just mentioned. How does cutting the baby’s penis make the marital bond stronger? Ver veyst ober mir darfen tzu farshtein (we need to chap) that since this instruction about a bris on day 8 is given here in Parshas Tazria, there must be some connection, and who better to stand firm with answers but the heylige Gemora. Says the Gemora: since the command to perform the bris on day 8 was given immediately after the few words about post partum impurity, they are somehow connected. Shoin! In yeshiva reyt (language) this is called semichus parshiois (when two subjects are very close to one another, they are often related). And the eighth day was chosen precisely because one had to wait until the woman’s seven unclean days were over. Asks and answers Rebbe Shimoin bar Yochai: “Why did the Toirah establish circumcision on the eighth day? So as not to have everyone rejoicing while the father and mother are sad [because they cannot be together] (Niddah 31b).” Avada there are other reasons why they can’t be together following childbirth including the fact that it’s sakonos nefoshois (putting one’s life in danger). In other words: intimacy in those early days could have a deleterious effect on her health. What’s pshat? Nu, try telling the eishes chayil (wife) seven days post childbirth that you’re epes in the mood and want intimacy. See what happens. That is the real sakono: her life is not in danger; it’s yours if you try chapping. In fact, I guarantee the same result 30 days later.
Says Reb Yudan bar Pazi: Why is the newborn circumcised on the eighth day? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, bestowed His mercy on him, waiting until he (the baby) be strong. And how does he know this? From two other pissukkim, one in Vayikra from where we learn that just as the Holy One, blessed be He, is merciful to humans, so too to animals. How do we know this? From the words in Vayikro (22:27): ‘When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born … and from the eighth day on … it shall be acceptable as an offering.” Shoin: a baby is compared to an animal. Just as the animal may be used as a korban from the 8th day forward, so too, the boy’s foreskin may be sacrificed. Gevaldick? Oy vey!
Say the RambaM (Guide of the Perplexed III.49) in support of this view: “The fact that circumcision is performed on the eighth day is due to the circumstance that all living beings are very weak and exceedingly tender when they are born, as if they were still in the womb. This is so until seven days are past. It is only then that they are counted among the living….”
Another view is offered by the Medrish (Emor 27.10) which states that circumcision is put off until the eighth day so that the newborn will live through one Shabbis before he is circumcised. And, said Rebbe Yehoishua of Sakhnin in the name of Rebbe Levi (who efsher heard this from another sourse): It is like a king who comes to a certain state where he issues an edict as follows: No visitors here shall be received by me until they first pay their respects to the Madame. Nu, which king wants his subjects visiting the Madame I don’t exactly know, efsher he meant the Madamme, ver veyst? Similarly, the Holy One, blessed be He, said: “Do not bring me a sacrifice until it has lived through a week, for there are no seven days without a Shabbis, and there shall be no circumcision without a Shabbis.”
Nu, let’s chazir: we have three reasons for the bris on day 8. One is sociological concerning relations between spouses. This is the only explanation that is based on the written Toirah, on the Possik (verse) found on page 1, and it’s the only one explicitly mentioned in the heylige Gemora (Niddah), in the name of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai. The second is medical, concerning the weakness of the newborn; the third is spiritual, concerning the spiritual benefit of Shabbis to the newborn. The last two are only found in the medrish. Let’s go veyter.
Because this year isn’t an iber yur (leap year) and we have fewer shabossim in which to hear and learn the heylige Parsha, this shabbis we’ll also be hearing Parshas Metzoira, and let’s not ignore this special parsha that deals with mamish the biggest problem the Yiddin ever faced throughout their illustrious history, and which continues ad hayoim hazeh (till today). I refer to Loshoin Horo (speaking ill and/or bad mouthing people), the content being true or false. This also means that over in Ir Hakoidesh (Israel) where they correctly keep but one day Yom Toiv, they read Shimini while we were still stuffing ourselves with leftover Matzo and kugil and also reading Yom Toiv laining. And what does all this mean? They’re ahead of us and are not reading the same Parshois of the Toirah. This is taka a serious concern for the Oisvorfer’s international readers of which there are tens of thousands, and they’re mamish tzibrochen (brokenhearted) over the matter. Efsher at another time, we’ll taka explore this sugya, but first let’s talk loshoin horo. Chas v’sholom we should talk it, rather I meant, let’s discuss it.
Vus iz a metzoira? A metzoira is a leper who has tzora’as (leprocy) either on himself, his house, or his clothing. Whatever and wherever; if he has or had it, he needs to be purified, as well as the house and the kleider (clothing) he wore.
The parsha also discusses the Zov and the Zova. What’s that you ask? Mistama even had you paid attention to the Rebbe, you still would’nt know and taka, why? Because mistama (likely) the Rebbe didn’t want you to hear and zicher didn’t want to discuss emissions while you were so impressionable and vulnerable. Instead he was willing to play show and don’t tell, if you chap, no questions asked- nebech – and sometimes he taka did- loi olainu. In any event, we’ll try to touch on this sugya next year, I”H (with help from the RBSO).
Why does one become afflicted? Says the medrish and taka, it seems to be the prevailing accepted p’shat: a person gets tzora’as by speaking loshoin hora of others. Simple enough and who can’t relate? According to this p’shat, the entire BNY would or should be lepers: have you yet met more than one person in your entire life time that doesn’t speak loshoin hora? Lemoshol (by way of example), this past week someone had the audacity to bad mouth the Oisvorfer, claiming he is an Apikoires (a Jew who is lax in observing Jewish law or who does not believe in Judaism). Avada nothing could be farther from the emes as the Oisvorfer never ever misquotes the heylige Toirah, Gemora or Medrish. Hopfefully the badmouther doesn’t mean that the heylige people that wrote these great works and whom the Oisvorfer quotes, were apikorsim as well, chas v’sholom. The Oisvorfer avada forgives him and will daven that the RBSO should forgive him too. Nu, where was I?
Said Reb Yoichanan in the name of Rev Yoiseph ben Zimra: One who bears evil tales will be visited with the plague of tzara’as. And said Resh Lokish: What is the meaning of the verse, “This shall be the law of the metzora” (first possik of the parsha)? It means: This shall be the law for him who is motzi shem ra (play on words: one who gives a bad name through slander). Our sages avada bring various proof texts, including references to our great leaders Miriam and Moishe to show how even she was afflicted after speaking ill of others (her own brother nebech).
And says the heylige Gemora (Erachin 15b-16a): Because of seven things, the plague of tzara’as is incurred: slander, bloodshed, false oath, incest, arrogance, robbery and envy. Es farshtytzuch (stands to reason) that many (most) of you are guilty of at least two of these on a regular basis, perhaps more. And according this Gemora, wouldn’t you expect a great majority of the Yiddin to be afflicted with some form of the machla (disease)? Are we lucky or what, that the second Beis Hamikdash was destroyed (ironically because of jealousy and loshoin horo). Mistama, there’s more to it.
Says the heylige Gemora Arachin (16b): although other ritually impure individuals are not required to separate themselves from the community, the metzoira receives the unique punishment of being divided from his family and friends due to the fact that his loshoin horo and gossip split spouses and friends apart, yikes!.
And adds Rav Zalman Sorotzkin that in addition to the punishment aspects of the metzoira’s sentence, there is also a therapeutic component to his having to be separated from the Machana. He posits that the reason that the badmouther spoke loshoin horo is that he has a chip on his shoulder and views other people as out to get him. Because he views society through this distorted lens, he comes to hate all of mankind and narcissistically wishes that they would leave him alone and stop taking what is rightfully his. In order to help this person heal he is isolated by sending him outside of the camp to live alone, free from interaction with others. Under isolation, it will be only a matter of time before feelings of loneliness overwhelm him and he will yearn for human contact. This will cure him of his antisocial illness and will teach him the value of human contact and friendships and the need to curb his loshoin horo.
A gitten shabbis koidesh-