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Dvar for Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)

Dvar Torah for Tazria 6th Aliya

Parshat Tazria discusses the tzara’at/nega (lesion) that affects clothing (13:45-59). The Gemara (Eruchin) explains that tzara’at is most often caused by speaking negatively about others (lashon hara), but can also be induced by stinginess, a derivation of the word “tzara’at,” being “tzar,” or narrow. The Torah talks about when the Kohen observes that the lesion doesn’t change its “ayin” after being washed (13:55). Typically an “ayin” is an eye, but what does an eye have to do with a lesion found on clothing?

The Chidushei HaRim explains that there is a double meaning for the word “ayin.” It means eye, but the “ayin” is also the last letter used in the word “nega.” It turns out that if you instead move the letter ayin in “nega” to the beginning of the word, it forms the word “oneg,” which means “joy.” The Torah tells us that if people don’t also shift their perspectives after removing the lesion, they and their clothes remain unclean. Luckily, turning stinginess into joy requires only a slight adjustment to our perspective and has the effect of reorienting us entirely.