Vol 3.37 - Metzora Spanish French Audio Video
"Niddah" regarding the husband - a prohibition and not impurity. Correlation between G-d and the Jewish People
Lesson: Niddah laws involve prohibitions; impurity refers to evil which is a decree that can not be removed
The Rebbe says:
The Rebbe says:
1. In this week’s Torah portion the laws of Niddah are discussed.
2. The Rebbe now analyzes the external aspect of Niddah:
The reason why the blood of Niddah causes Tumah (ritual impurity) can be understood according to the Talmud which states that the blood of Niddah is part of the ten curses which Chava (Eve) was cursed with when she sinned with the Tree of Knowledge in Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden).
From this we see that the natural creation of woman did not include this blood of Niddah; only because of the sin of the Tree of Knowledge did this begin. Therefore, being that this blood comes from a sin, and not just any sin, but a sin which is the source for all future sins, this blood is Tumah.
Our Sages explain that any penalty which we incur after we sin is not a punishment, it is merely a consequence. As it says, “Your own evil shall reprimand you”.
The same holds true with regards to Adam Harishon’s penalty when he was banished from Gan Eden- it was merely a consequence of his actions. Being that Gan Eden is a place of only good and cannot even handle a smidgen of bad; Adam Harishon who was now tainted with bad had to be banished from Gan Eden.
This concept also holds true for Chava’s (Eve’s) penalties. The reason she was now made up in a way that included the blood of Niddah is because she brought an evil substance into her body and the Jewish body which is Holy and good could contain this evil.
Now we can understand on a deeper level as to why the blood of Niddah is Tumah: From the fact that the Jewish body must get rid of this substance proves to us that it is Tumah.
3. Before the Rebbe begins discussing the spiritual dimension of this, he first lays the groundwork:
The Torah tells us that when a woman is a Niddah she is forbidden to her husband. Our Sages debate whether the reason for this is because she is Tamei (ritually impure) or because of a different Issur (illegal issue). The opinion which holds that they are two separate things- 1) her being Tamei (ritually impure) and 2) her not being allowed to her husband- brings proofs to his opinion and substantiates it.
4. The Rebbe now begins explaining what this all means spiritually:
Our Sages tell us that man and woman down here are an example of their original source- the Jewish people and Hashem. Hashem is the man and the Jewish people is the woman. Bearing this in mind, we can understand that the idea of Niddah must also apply to the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem.
Targum Onkelos (a major translator of the Torah into Aramaic) translates the word, “Niddah”, as meaning, “Separation”. Consequently, the meaning of Niddah for Jewish people and Hashem is that when a Jew sins he separates himself from Hashem. However, in keeping with the above mentioned opinion, this is not because the Jewish people are Tamei; we are simply forbidden to our husband- Hashem.
5. The Rebbe now explains what this means exactly:
The difference between Tumah (impurity) and Issur (illegal things) is that we can have some kind of understanding of Issur things; however the laws of Tumah are totally illogical. For example, we can understand that forbidden foods (which are Issurim) stop up our minds and dull our senses towards anything spiritual and Holy. However, we cannot get a handle on this concept of “spiritual impurity”. We keep these laws solely because it is a decree of Hashem.
This difference explains why we only keep the laws of Tumah during the times of the Beis Hamikdash (the Holy Temple) and not during exile, whereas we keep the laws of Issur all the time. The reason for this is that since the things that are Issur are recognizable all the time we must guard ourselves from them all the time. On the other hand, Tumah, which is a very delicate thing, only affects us when we are on the spiritual level to be sensitive and susceptible towards it. Therefore, in the times of the Beis Hamikdash, when we are on a refined and elevated level, we are sensitive to Tumah’s affects, not while we are in exile and are coarser,.
A proof to this: The Halachah (Jewish law) is that Kodshim (meat from an animal that was sacrificed on the Altar or otherwise consecrated for Holy purposes) may not be eaten while one is Tamei (impure), while regular food may be eaten by one who is Tamei. We clearly see from this that only things of a higher spiritual standing are sensitive to Tumah.
6. The Rebbe now points out how Tumah is worse than Issurim (illegal things) in certain aspects:
Even though, as we just explained, Issurim seem worse than Tumah because we can consciously perceive Issurim, the truth is however that Tumah is worse in two major ways. Firstly, since we don’t know when we are Tamei, we will not do Teshuvah (repentance). Secondly, being that Tumah is higher than our understanding, this proves that it is affecting our subconscious levels which are of a much deeper and profound nature.
7. The Rebbe now finishes off by explaining the significance of all of the above:
As we said earlier, the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem is like the relationship between man and woman down here in this world. We also said that when a woman is forbidden to her husband because she is a Niddah this also applies to the relationship between the Jewish people and Hashem. We then brought down a debate between our Sages weather she is forbidden because of the Tumah or because of a different Issur, and we explained that the opinion who holds that it is not due to the Tumah substantiates his side by bringing proofs.
We can now understand the significance of this. The outcome of this is that when a Jew becomes a Niddah, meaning, he sins and separates himself from Hashem, as we explained earlier, this is only at his lower, external levels. Just like Issurim only affect a person’s conscious levels.
Bearing this in mind will help every Jew realize that all he has to do is dust himself off and continue going.
Translated and adapted by Shalom Goldberg. Taken from Likutei Sichos volume three.
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