Vol 17.21 - Metzora 2 Spanish French Audio Video
1. In the verse (Lev. 15.12) "An earthenware vessel which the zov will touch shall be broken. Any wooden vessel shall be rinsed in water", Rashi comments on the words: "And an earthenware vessel that (the zov) will touch” and explains:
“Perhaps (it is unclean) even if he touches it from the outside, etc. as it is stated in Torat Kohanim until (the words): "what (type) of touch is as though (he touched) all of it? Say: this is (when one) causes it to move."
One must understand:
What is difficult here, in the simple understanding of the verse, that compels Rashi to explain the words: “that he will touch” according to the Sages’ homily/derash in Torat Kohanim – and not that “that he will touch” is according to the simple meaning, that it means touching - any (type of) touching including from the outside?
The explanation is:
One cannot translate that “that he will touch/naga bo” means actual touching since we have previously learnt (in Parshat Shemini concerning the impurity of a sheretz (Note: The eight crawling animals that are mentioned in the Torah: the weasel, the mouse, the ferret, the hedgehog, the chameleon, the lizard, the snail, and the mole) – as Rashi states there – that “No earthenware vessel becomes unclean except through its interior”.
Therefore one cannot further explain here that “"An earthenware vessel which the zov will touch” should become impure through touching it from the “outside”.
However since one could differentiate by saying:
· Specifically by the impurity of a sheretz, which is a less stringent form of impurity/Tuma’ah applies the rule: “No earthenware vessel becomes unclean except through its interior”.
· However, regarding the impurity of a zov, which is a a stringent form of Tuma’ah (it imparts Tuma’ah when one sits or lies on it) – an earthenware vessel could become Tuma’ah through touching from the “outside”, and therefore “that he will touch” can be understood literally.
Therefore, in order to avert this distinction (especially since this fits more with the simple understanding of the verse), Rashi cites from the verse (not just the words (which he is explaining) ‘touch it”, but also the words that emphasize this aforementioned distinction): “And an earthenware vessel that the zov will touch” and states:
“Perhaps (it is unclean) even if he touches it from the outside (since the context here is regarding the Tuma’ah of a zov), etc. as it is stated in Torat Kohanim”
(The Mishnah in in Torat Kohanim (Sifra Zovim, par. 3, 1
According to this, there is a question:
If touching form the “outside” does not impart impurity, what does the words: : “that he will touch” mean?
Therefore Rashi cites the conclusion of Torat Kohanim: "what (type) of touch is as though (he touched) all of it? Say: this is (when one) causes it to move."
2. One must however understand:
Either way (it is problematic):
· Either Rashi should have cited the entire section of Torat Kohanim (even the proof that “touching” cannot mean from the “outside”
· And if Rashi is relying that we will ourselves look in Torat Kohanim – he also should not have cited the conclusion: "what (type) of touch etc.). He should have just ended his commentary with the words: “as it states in Torat Kohanim” (similar to his commentary in Parshat Vayikra: “And if you say that this is a verse which is not needed, it is expounded in Torat Kohanim”)?
Simply, one could answer:
The reason Rashi cites the conclusion: "what (type) of touch etc.” is because it explains the (actual) explanation/teitch of “touch” (- that it means causing it to move). However, the previous section of Torat Kohanim is just a study and proof that an earthenware vessel cannot become impure from the outside “. Therefore he does not cite it and relies that we will ourselves look in Torat Kohanim.
It is, however, difficult to say this:
Because, (as has been mentioned many times), Rashi clearly cites and explains everything, that is necessary, for a five year old, to understand the simple meaning of the verse.
Therefore since the explanation of “touch” could also mean from the touching from the “outside”, Rashi needed to write clearly the aspect that proves that the explanation is not so – and he does not rely on one’s looking in the Torat Kohanim, (especially since the Torat Kohanim learns this from a gezerah shavah ("Similar laws, similar verdicts”) – and not from the simple meaning of the verses).
One must say that according to simple understanding of the verse, the proof is
(not from the gezerah shavah "bo/which he touches" and bo/which is cooked” which is not cited in Rashi‘s commentary, but rather)
from the words that Rashi cites clearly from Torat Kohanim .
(and the reason he writes “etc. as it is stated in Torat Kohanim” is only as an additional proof and explanation (as will be explained). Therefore he suffices with the hint ““etc. as it is stated in Torat Kohanim”)
3. Seemingly, one could have said that we learn this from the impurity of a corpse (tumas meis) – which also a very severe impurity. Yet notwithstanding, it does not impart Tuma’ah to an earthenware vessel from the outside – as we will further lean in Parshat Chukat. Therefore, it is understood from this that also a zov (which is not as severe a Tuma’ah as a corpse) does not impart impurity to an earthenware vessel from the outside.
And this is the intent of Rashi by referencing Torat Kohanim:
He does not mean the gezerah shavah "bo – bo” but rather to the Kal v’Chomer which is stated there:
“Is it not a Kal v’Chomer? If the uncleanness caused by a dead body, which is most severe, cannot cause uncleanness to earthenware vessels from the outside (by touch), there is no question that the zov, who causes less severe uncleanness, should not cause uncleanness to an earthenware vessels from the outside.”
and Kal v’Chomer is a simple reasoning (sevara peshuta) – simple understanding of the verse.
And even though the Torat Kohanim dismisses this Kal v’Chomer,
for even with a zov there is a stringency (“that it affects a bed and sitting vessel”) which is not present with regard to a corpse,
it nevertheless maintains that they are “equal” (in that each one possesses a stringency compared to the other). Therefore according to simple understanding of the verse this is a reasoning that they should also be “equal” in the law of not imparting impurity to an earthenware vessels from the outside.
And the reason that Rashi cites the Torat Kohanim – and not to a verse (simple understanding of the verse) in Parshat Chukat is because the proof from a verse:
1. Is connected with an elaboration
2. Even after (citing the verse) it is not certain that the five year old would sufficiently understand the inference. However, in Torat Kohanim the inference is clear and delineated.)
Yet this does not hold because:
(besides which it does not remain straightforward: why does Rashi not cite the proof clearly, as aforementioned – in addition to this:)
A corpse dos not impart impurity by movement/hisat. And if one wants to say that the verse: “that he will touch” is introducing an innovation that a zov imparts impurity by movement (which does not apply to a corpse) , why not say (instead) that the innovation of “that he will touch” is that a zov imparts impurity to an earthenware vessels from the outside, even though a corpse cannot do so ( and this explanation must surely be better, because specifically according to this can one explain “touch” literally)?
4. One could seemingly answer that Rashi‘s necessity (to comment) is because of the conclusion of the verse: “Any wooden vessel shall be rinsed in water":
It is well if you maintain that “that he will touch” means movement, for then the innovation of “Any wooden vessel“ is understood - a zov also imparts impurity to a wooden vessel by movement.
However if you maintain that “that he will touch” is literal – and includes touching “from the outside” and the verse is introducing an innovation that a zov imparts impurity by touching an earthenware vessel “from the outside” - becomes problematic:
What is the innovation of “Any wooden vessel “? Implying that a wooden vessel becomes impure by touching “from the outside” is not any innovation!
But even this explanation is hard to learn in Rashi - because if it is so Rashi would have stated in the heading (dibur HaMaschil) also the words: “Any wooden vessel” or at least allude to it with the word “etc./v’gomer”. However, since Rashi does not do so, it is a proof that “touching” means “moving”, as will be explained ( or alternatively that the proof that he cites is better).
5. One can understand this by prefacing puzzlement:
Seemingly, what is the previous verse (verse 11):
“If a zov touches anyone and his hands were not rinsed in water, he shall wash his garments and bathe in water and is impure until the evening”
It states previously (verse 7):
“Whoever touches the flesh of a zov shall wash his garments and bathe in water and is impure until the evening”.
(And the law (as Rashi explains):
“As long as he did not immerse (to cleanse himself) from his uncleanness, and even if his discharge ceased and he counted seven (clean days) etc. -- he causes uncleanness etc.”
1. One could learn this from a “kol shekein”/ all the more so” from the law of a woman who has given birth (yoledes) who must immerse (and even after immersion) - “She shall not touch anything holy” (Note whose purification is concluded only after a long day. That is she immersed at the end of seven days) “but her "sun" of purification does not set until sunset of the fortieth day; then she brings her purification atonement the next day”.
2. Mainly: the Torah did not need to repeat the entire verse because of this. It would have been sufficient to insert the words: “and his hands were not rinsed in water” in the preceding verse (7):” Whoever touches the flesh of a zov”.
And because of this puzzlement the Talmud actually learns that when it says (verse 11): “If a zov touches anyone” it does not mean (actual) touch but rather – movement. Rashi however leans like the Torat Kohanim that, the inference that “touch” implies “movement”, is only learned from the words in our (later) verse (verse 12). Therefore, according to Rashi, it remains problematic why the verse:” If a zov touches anyone” is required. (and we do not see that Rashi clarifies this)
However, the explanation is:
(Even) according to PSM, an entire verse may exist for the purpose of one particular (aspect) that is innovated in the verse. And even more so from that which it happens that the Torah repeats an entire Parsha: “for some matter that is innovated in it”
( and we see this immediately in Parshat Bereshit, where the Torah repeats the story of Adam and Chava’s creation because of the particulars which arise in the in the second narration, and there are other instances)
Therefore there is (according to PSM) no difficulty why the verse If a zov touches anyone” is required – because it exists because of an innovation of the following words: “and his hands were not rinsed in water” which teaches us (as Rashi concludes in his commentary – after he explains the Pshat) that “ (a person's) hidden parts do not need to have water touch them, but (only) the exposed parts of the person's body, such as the hands.”
6. When Rashi comes, however, to our verse – it also becomes difficult.
What is the innovation of the verse? To know that a vessel becomes tamei through a zov touching it can be learned from a Kol shekain and kal v’chomer from the previous laws (that a person becomes tamei through contact with a zov; that a zov defiles even by lying and sitting etc.) -
Rashi must therefore avert this by stating: “Perhaps (it is unclean) even if he touches it from the outside”. (in other words) since the simple explanation of “touching” is even “from the outside”, one could posit that the innovation lies in that which a “zov” defiles by touching an “earthenware vessel” also “from the outside” ( as was discussed previously at length).
And there is no a question why there is no innovation in the conclusion of the verse states: “Any wooden vessel etc." because, as discussed, it is sufficient that there is an innovation in the law, even in one part of the verse – namely that (even an “earthenware vessel” becomes defiled through contact with a zov, “from the outside”-
And as an additional proof to “Perhaps etc.” Rashi adds: “etc. as it is stated in Torat Kohanim”. For it is actually cited there that because of the severity of the uncleanness of a zov, there is room to say that he should cause uncleanness to earthenware vessels from the outside,
(even though the uncleanness caused by a dead body, which is most severe, cannot cause uncleanness to earthenware vessels from the outside by touch).
This means that the reason Rashi cites the Torat Kohanim is
(not because of the beginning of the section that posits that a zov cannot cause uncleanness to earthenware vessels from the outside by touch, but on the contrary)
because of the conclusion – (the second opinion) of the section of Torat Kohanim in proximity to: "which touches it” that there is an opinion (“Perhaps”) that “even if he touches it from the outside, etc. “it should become tamei (and because of this reason, Rashi only alludes to it with the word “etc.,/v’chulu” and does not cite it explicitly).
And the proof that we cannot learn so, is from the conclusion of the Torat Kohanim – “’which touches it’? This refers to touch which is as affecting all of it; say: this when one causes it to move.”, as will be explained.
7. The reasoning in this is:
In addition to that which the entire verse is seemingly redundant - the words at the beginning of the verse: "(An earthenware vessel) which the zov will touch” are completely extra:
For this verse (ibid: 12) comes in continuation to the previous verse (ibid.11) which states: “If a zov touches anyone”. It therefore would have been sufficient to succinctly state: "An earthenware vessel shall be broken”.
(like it sates in the conclusion of the verse “and any wooden vessel shall be rinsed in water" where it does not state redundantly: “and any wooden vessel which the zov will touch shall be rinsed in water")
It is therefore logical to say that the innovation of this verse lies in the words “which the zov will touch it/yiga bo”.
“Yiga bo” implies a new form of “touching” (which is different than the other “touching’s” stated previously). This “touching” is “it/bo” - meaning a complete “touch” - one that touches the (entire) vessel, not like a superficial contact that touches a limited area of the item. This is reflected in the words of Rashi: "what (type) of touch is as though (he touched) all of it? Say: this is (when one) causes it to move.” For through this type of touching the entire vessel is “moved”.
(However, if we would learn that the innovation of the verse is in that which an earthenware vessel becomes Tamei through touching from the outside – then the innovation is only in the words: “an earthenware vessel” or also in the word “it/bo” – but not in the entire phrase “touch it” (“yiga bo” conjunctively).
8. The lesson in Avodah is:
An earthenware vessel which is formed from earth alludes to man whose “source is from earth/yesodo m’afar”.
(as it states: “And G-d formed the man, dust from the ground etc.”; “For you are dust etc.)
And concerning this, it says that an earthenware vessel does not become Tamei through touching from the outside. This means that the aspects of this world which become attached to a person’s body (for one’s body is called “Achurav/outside”) cannot defile the essence of a Yid.
For since G-d created man in a manner that his body must rely on eating and drinking and other aspects of this world, which according to nature, derives pleasure from them –
and the Avodah is not to break the body, but rather (in accordance with the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov) one must apply the dictum: “you should make every effort to help him”, making from his body and his portion in the world an abode for G-d (here in this lower world) –
he is not at fault that aspects of this world have become attached to him, even though he, ultimately, must cleanse himself from them.
(When does the above apply? When he conducts himself according to G-d’s design - an earthenware vessel (which depicts Bitul). However if he conducts himself like a “wooden vessel” – meaning he considers himself an entity that was grown (like a tree which grows) or like a metal vessel – he is rigid/hard in his being like metal – then, since he has already not in the form in which he was created, he can also become defiled from the “outside”).
Rashi therefore comments on this that: “Perhaps (it is unclean) even if he touches it from the outside, etc.”:
One could think that a severe Tuma’ah such as a zov defiles a Yid, G-d forbid, even from the “outside”. For the aspect of emissions/Zivah is not a natural occurrence like that of Niddah, but rather it is an illness of the body – more blood than is required according to the dictates of nature.
In one’s Avodah:
· The blood of Niddah represents evil/ra that that exists in a Yid, by nature, as it states: “for the inclination of man's heart is evil from his youth”
· The blood of Zivah represents that which one’s inclination has become stimulated more than Yetzer Hara would confuse him, by itself. The Chinuch explains: “The aspect of Zivah happens to a person who has deviated from the straight path constantly in his food etc.”
Therefore one could think that in this case a person (an “earthenware vessel”) can become defiled even from the “outside” – since he has descended into such a state of evil which is not compelled from man’s nature.
Concerning this (Torat Kohanim, and) Rashi states that it is not so.
When the touch of the zov is “as though he touched all of it” meaning that it affects man’s entirety it is possible that the “earthenware vessel” can become defiled (even from the “outside”). But if it is just a general touch, even from a zov, cannot affect the essence of a Yid. As Rambam rules: “even in a situation where one must force another to perform a Mitzvah, it (the forcing) is only because of his external superficiality (chitzonius) – “his inclination has overpowered him”. But even then, his Pnimiyut “wants to be (part of) Yisroel and he wants to do all the Mitzvot”.
And through the forcing, the dust which covers and conceals the true will of the Yid is removed, and the “Emes Hashem/truth of G-d” becomes revealed (even “l’olam/in eternity”) - that the Yid proclaims “I want – to be part of Yisroel” and to “perform all the Mitzvot”
M’Sichas Shabbat Parshat Metzora 5736
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