Tazria – April 8, 2016

This Shabbat:

  • Friday Candle Lighting: 7:01 pm
  • Shabbat Ends: 7:59 pm

Torah Message:

Body and Soul

“A woman who gives forth seed and bears a male…” (12:2)

“Says Rav Simlai, ‘Just as (the Torah describes) the formation of man after every domestic animal and wild animal and fowl in the sequence of the Creation, so is (man’s) ‘Torah’ explained after the ‘Torah’ of the domestic animal, the wild animal and the fowl’.” (Rashi)

The “Torah” to which Rashi refers is the set of laws of ritual purity, tuma and tahara.

The question arises, when placing the laws of man after the laws of the animals, why did the Torah chose specifically to speak of the laws of ritual purity? Why didn’t it choose to segue one of the other many Torah laws that apply to man?

Furthermore, why did Rav Simlai speak of the “formation” (yetzira) of man as opposed to his “creation” (bria)?

Man has two parts, a physical part and a spiritual part. Yetzira — formation — refers to his physical existence, whereas bria — creation — refers to his spiritual being.

Man’s physical formation indeed took place after the formation all the animals. However, the spiritual existence of man precedes all.

For this reason Rav Simlai used the word “formation” to refer to man’s physical side coming after the beasts, and for this same reason the Torah singles out the laws of ritual purity, for these laws are only applicable to the “animal” side of man.

  • Sources: Chatam Sofer as seen in Talalei Orot