Acharei Mos/Kedoshim 5783


The crack in the diamond[1]

ואם האכל יאכל ביום השלישי פגול הוא לא ירצה
If he shall surely eat it on the third day, it is pigul, and it will not be desired[2]

The Torah prohibits something known as pigul. When the Kohen is slaughtering an offering, even if he does the procedure correctly, he can invalidate it. How so? He has to have the correct intent when slaughtering the animal. If he simply thinks in his mind[3] that this offering is going to be eaten outside the Temple, when in fact it is only permissible to eat it in the Temple, he has invalidated the offering. Alternatively, if he thinks that this offering is going to be eaten in a few days, when in fact every offering has a short time period when its consumption is permitted, he has invalidated the offering. These thoughts create a status on the offering known as pigul. Not only does the offering become invalid, but if someone were to eat it, they would incur kares, spiritual excision[4]. We see that pigul is a very grave sin.

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Tazria/Metzora 5783


Seeing the full picture[1]

ואם-פרוח תפרח הצרעת בעור וכסתה הצרעת את כל-עור הנגע מראשו ועד-רגליו לכל-מראה עיני הכהן
If the tzra’as spreads on the skin and the tzara’as covers the entire skin, from his head to his feet, the full view of the Kohen[2]

This week’s double parsha mostly deals with the laws of tzara’as, most commonly translated as leprosy. While being a whitish skin condition, in reality it’s a totally unrelated spiritual malady[3] with physical symptoms. Chazal tell us[4] that someone who contracts tzara’as, known as a Metzora[5], usually committed a certain sin[6]. One example is that of loshon hara, evil speech. As a result of his sin, he is infected with a disturbing skin condition, and has to have his status established by a Kohen. If the Kohen determines he is spiritually pure, then he is. The opposite is also true.

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Shevii shel Pesach 5783


Recalling the Exodus[1]

…למען תזכר את-יום צאתך מארץ מצרים כל ימי חייך‏
…In order for you to remember the day you left Egypt, all the days of your life[2]

Besides the Festival of Pesach, where we recount the Exodus at the Seder, there is an obligation to recall the Exodus from Egypt every day[3]. We fulfill this by saying the third paragraph of Shema both day and night[4], which mentions the Exodus. Now, the Magen Avraham innovates[5] that reciting Shiras HaYam, the Song at Sea that the Jews sang when the Reed Sea split, fulfills this obligation. Now, at first glance, this seems a little surprising. The Song at Sea was recited after the Exodus from Egypt. Why would reciting it be considered recalling the Exodus? The Torah indeed says[6] to recall the day we left Egypt, and the Sea split a week later[7]. Furthermore, the Midrash says that part of the obligation of recalling the Exodus is to recall the final plague of the death of the first born. If one didn’t say it, they haven’t fulfilled their obligation[8].

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