(Haftara: Kings II, 7:3-20)
1. [Vayikra 14:34] “…and I will put the plague of tzara’at in a house of the land…” The Talmud tells us that a house can get tzara’at as a result of theft that the people in the house did. Why is the house stricken, rather than the people in it?
2. Our tradition tells us that the disease of tzara’at comes on a person for the sin of “lashon hara”—saying negative things about someone for no constructive purpose. We don’t have the disease of tzara’at any more. Why not, and why do we, nonetheless, keep learning about it?
3. [Haftara: Kings II, 7:3-20] “And four leprous men were at the entrance of the gate…” The haftara tells about four Israelite lepers who greatly helped the Israelites. By making this story the haftara for this week, what might the rabbis have been trying to communicate to us about lepers?
4. [Pesach] The Pesach seder is our main time for passing our tradition on to our children. Many of our customs at the Pesach seder are practiced in order to keep the children awake and interested. So it would seem that the best time for the seder would be during the day. However, we make the seder at night, in order to be like the “seder” and the liberation in Egypt. Why is it so important to be like the original experience, when it weakens the main purpose of the seder—the education of the children?
5. [Pesach] On the morning of the 14th of Nissan (the 8th of April this year), we burn our remaining chametz. Our tradition tells us that chametz represents the evil inclination and especially arrogance. However, being free from the negative things in our personalities doesn’t happen immediately–it is a process and sometimes a long one. What is the ceremony of the burning and immediate destruction of the chametz supposed to teach us?
[Vayikra 14:7] “And he will sprinkle upon the person who is purifying himself…” Why does the pasuk say, “… who is purifying himself”, rather than “he who is being purified”?
The process of purification is not passive. It is active. The impure person must help in his own purification through introspection and tshuvah.
—Rabbi Meir Simcha HaKohen (1843 – 1926), Dvinsk, Lithuania
This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer