Friday, April 11, 2008

METZORAH; DESTROYER OF WORLDS

by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

Metzorah, this week's parsha, discusses the cleansing process of the leper, as well as the purification processes for bodily secretions of a reproductive nature, both male and female. It must be made clear that this is not referencing a physical uncleanness. Rather, it is solely discussing a spiritual form of impurity.

In fact, the English word for conTAMination derives from the Hebrew word for spiritual impurity, which is TUMAH. And "pure" itself derives from the Hebrew word Parah. One could only become pure by being sprinkled with the ashes of the Parah Adumah, the red heifer.

Nor is this evidence of any misogynist bent in the Torah itself. Quite the opposite! Both males and females are deemed spiritually impure by dint of the secretions of their respective male and female fluids.

What is the connection between two strange, seemingly disparate topics, viz. the juxtaposition between the narrative of ritual impurity for the secretion/emission of male and/or female fluids and general impurity resulting from general psoriatic skin ailments?

It is generally understood that Miriam developed "leprosy" from her lashon hara (evil speech) against her brother Moses. The Torah itself makes that connection. Hence we can extrapolate from the particular to the general that there is a connection between "leprosy," possibly psoriasis (related to the word tzoraas), and the improper use of the Divine gift of speech. And what she said wasn't so much "evil" as it was widely understood to be "merely" involving herself in his personal sphere, intruding, as it were, on the private zone of relations between man and woman.

Lashon hara has the capacity to destroy people's reputations and careers and even lives. It may not be the actual death blow per se, but it certainly has the power to create the conditions in potential form. In western society entire industries are devoted exclusively to the spread of slander, gossip and talebearing. In fact, the more salacious, the more lucrative.

So too, male and female emissions and secretions have within them the potential for human life. Conversely, since their emissions carry within them the sense of loss of potential life, in a sense their emission bears with it the sense of potential death.

While clearly, since the advent of modern science, no one believes in the idea of a homonculus, i.e., the idea of a fully formed miniature human residing in male seed, nevertheless, to some degree it represents symbolically a potential for life, similar to the woman's unfertilized eggs which are lost through her monthly cycle.

Hence the connection: both ideas speak of the idea of potential death. One is the potential death of reputations, lives and careers. The other is the potential life that was lost, the life that never came to be. They intersect with the idea of nidah. This usually refers to woman in her menstrual state, to be off-limits to her husband, but the very first case of a person said to be (in a state of) nidah in the Torah was a man!

The first nidah in the Torah concerned KAYIN, when because he took a life he was to wait outside the figurative camp of humanity, literally "off-limits," by becoming a perpetual wanderer, a displaced person. He was to be a fugitive and a waNDerer (na veNaD ba'aretz (Gen 4:12). Being NaD, he was the first to be in a state of nidah. He cut off the potential of another's life by killing.

He cut down the flowering seed potential of a human life, still in its youth. Therefore his compensatory karmic healing was that his seed/life could never be allowed to take root. He was forced to wander in perpetuity. While we may not kill others in a physical sense, our words have the power to destroy lives, families, even communities.

Let this connection be a reminder that our words are like actions- that we can destroy worlds, or create them, depending on how we use our gifts.

© 2000 - 2008 by Rabbi Baruch Binyamin Hakohen Melman

These words of Torah are written in the merit of my beloved father, Israel J. Melman, obm, Yisrael Yehoshua ben Harav Ya'aqov Hakohen ben Meir Yisrael Hakohen Melman, z"l

I was raised in the musar tradition of silence and meditative thoughtfulness, as were my father and grandfather before me.

http://seferchabibi.blogspot.com/2007/07/yahrzeit-of-my-father-27-tammuz.html

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9506EEDC1630F93BA35754C0A9649C8B63

Chabibi stands for CHidushei Baruch Binyamin ben Yisrael Yehoshua
(a chidush, from the word chadash, means a new, original or fresh perspective)
Dedications are available.

My band, Niggun, is available for all simchas.
Contact me privately at niggun@aol.com
(niggun means wordless spiritual melody, the highest kind there is).

No comments:

NEVER GIVE UP!

Loading...

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

Reb Shlomo with Reb Zusha ben Avraham Zimmerman

moshav band live at mexicali blues

Loading...

What mind is it?

"Great minds discuss ideas;
average minds discuss events;
small minds discuss people."
-Eleanor Roosevelt


ON FIXING AND HEALING...

"If you believe that you can damage, then believe that you can fix..... If you believe that you can harm, then believe that you can heal..........." Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Hatiqwa

Loading...

Beta Israel - Ethiopian Jews - The Ingathering from Without

Loading...

Palestinians of Jewish origin - The Ingathering from Within

Loading...

Holy Wedding at Makhpela, Tomb of our Fathers in hevron - Music by Pey Dalid

Loading...

Mariane Paradise and The Gan Eden Project sings of the Unity of All Creation from Jerusalem

Loading...

A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD

Loading...

IVDU ET HASHEM B'SIMCHA- SERVE THE LORD WITH JOY DANCING AND SINGING FROM INSIDE A BOMB SHELTER

Loading...

SELICHOT LIVE AT CARLEBACH SHUL 2008

Loading...

NAZI RALLIES AND SPEECHES

Loading...

JEWISH MEN AND WOMEN GATHER TO CELEBRATE REB SHLOMO'S 14TH YAHRZEIT SINGING AT HIS GRAVE

Loading...

MOSHAV BAND - THE ONLY ONE

Loading...

Reb Zalman on Jewish Renewal

Loading...

Let There Be Peace

Loading...
"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."

- anonymous
"Perhaps the greatest force in the entire universe is compounded interest."

- Albert Einstein

the last hoshana rabba with reb shlomo and me playing together the week before he took off in '94

Loading...

bob marley - one love 6:13 (6 MINUTES 13 SECONDS) and exodus

Loading...

Tisha B'Av 5765 Katif Expulsion

Loading...

Children of Sderot - The Daily Terror and Nightmares

Loading...

Let Me Sing a New Song

Loading...

On Schlomo's magnificent 13th (Bar Mitzvah) yahrzeit in Heaven

Loading...

AMAZING INTERVIEW WITH REB SHLOMO top video only

Loading...

Larry David wants to Save the Planet

Loading...

Havdalah Ceremony on Moshav Meor Modiin in Central Israel

Loading...

Alpha blondy from cote d'ivoire sings his love of Jerusalem in Hebrew and French all over the world

Loading...
When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.- Abraham Joshua Heschel
The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the most important thing is to not be afraid.
-Rebbe Nachman of Breslov
"The greatest thing in the world is to do somebody else a favor." - Aish Kodesh
"As you want G*d to give you a chance, give everyone else a chance to also begin again." - Shlomo Carlebach

About Me

My photo
United States
I played violin with Reb Shlomo and studied under him for over nine years at hundreds of concerts and learnings. Shlomo wanted to give me smicha before he passed. Deepest influences: My father,obm, who was a great scientist and human being, and my grandfather, obm, who was a great Torah scholar who was a musmach of the Mir Yeshiva and taught in Slobodka in Russia before WW1, and was also personal friends with the Chafetz Chaim and came to America in 1914. He knew the Talmud by heart! You could stick a pin in a word and he could tell you what word was on the other side! And my mother, Esther bat Baruch, z"l, who was a scholar of classical Hebrew and Tanach and who gave me a love for the language. And her mother, Anna (Sucher) Deutsch, who was born in Horodenka, spoke six languages, and shared her aged wisdom and eternal sweetness with me. I studied at Brandeis, Hebrew College, Pardes as well as seven years at The Metivta/ITJ earning my Advanced Semicha (yoreh yoreh)under Rav Halivni. What's truly amazing is that Shlomo and Rav Halivni each received semicha from Rav Hutner! But my deepest influences of them all are my sweetest sweetest girls who have taught me the most!