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Friday, April 24, 2015

Tazriah-Metzorah 5775

Part I: Sad Parent, Happy Guests, Sad Child
The Gemara tells us that we circumcise a child on the eighth day because for the first seven days of the child’s the parents are forbidden to one another, sexually, and we do not want to have joyous people around sad parents. However, the modern custom is for the parents to remain sexually separated not just for seven days after birth but for the further thirty-three days when the mother is in the “blood of her purity.” This leads to a question, handled below by the Torah Temimah, as to why we still circumcise on day eight.

ויקרא פרשת תזריע פרק יב
Leviticus, Chapter 12
(2) Speak to the children of Israel, saying: A woman, when she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male, she will be impure for seven days; like the days of her niddah she will be impure.
(ב) דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ וְיָלְדָה זָכָר וְטָמְאָה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים כִּימֵי נִדַּת דְּוֹתָהּ תִּטְמָא:
(3) And on the eighth day they shall circumcise his foreskin.
(ג) וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי יִמּוֹל בְּשַׂר עָרְלָתוֹ:
(4) And for thirty-three days she shall sit in the blood of her purity; anything holy she shall not touch and she shall not come to the sanctuary until the days of her purity are complete.
(ד) וּשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים תֵּשֵׁב בִּדְמֵי טָהֳרָה בְּכָל־קֹדֶשׁ לֹא־תִגָּע וְאֶל־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ לֹא תָבֹא עַד־מְלֹאת יְמֵי טָהֳרָהּ:


תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדה דף לא עמוד ב
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Niddah, 31b
And why did the Torah say that circumcision [happens on day] eight? So that it will not be that everyone is joyful and his father and mother are sad.
ומפני מה אמרה תורה מילה לשמונה? שלא יהו כולם שמחים ואביו ואמו עצבים.

רש"י מסכת נדה דף לא עמוד ב
Rashi on Tractate Niddah, 31b
So that it will not be that everyone is joyful - That they will eat and drink at the festive meal and his father and mother are sad because they are forbidden to have sex.
שלא יהיו הכל שמחין - שאוכלין ושותין בסעודה ואביו ואמו עצבים שאסורין בתשמיש.



תורה תמימה הערות ויקרא פרק יב
Torah Temimah, Notes, Leviticus Chapter 12
Barukh HaLevi Epstein, Belarus, 19th and 20th Centuries
And it is already know what the Vilna Gaon learned from this: that any decree made for some reason remains even though the reason is cancelled, like here. For it is explained that the reason that circumcision happens on the eighth day is so they [the parents] will be permitted to have sex. But these days, when we have the custom to wait during the blood of her purity, like with the blood from a niddah, if so, the reason for circumcising  on the eighth day is cancelled. But nonetheless, the law remains.
וכבר נודע מה שלמד הגר"א מכאן דכל תקנה שנתקנה בשביל איזה סיבה קיימת אע"פ שבטלה הסבה, כמו הכא שמבואר שטעם מילה בשמיני כדי שיהיו נתרים בתה"מ, והרי בזה"ז שנהגו לישב בדם טוהר, כמו בדם נדה, א"כ בטלה הסבה ממילא בשמיני, ובכ"ז הדין קיים,
And one may say that this is hinted at in the language of the Tanchuma at the beginning of parashat T’tzaveh, “Teach us, our Rabbis, after how many days is an infant circumcised? After eight, like Yitzchak our father was circumcised.” But the issue of the question and answer is not explained, for the commandment of circumcision at eight days is a well known commandment and well specified in the Torah, as is the time of Yitzchak’s circumcision. So what novel thought is there in this?
וי"ל דזה נרמז בלשון התנחומא ר"פ תצוה, ילמדנו רבינו לכמה תנוק נמול -לשמונה, כשם שנימול יצחק אבינו, ולא נתבאר ענין השאלה והתשובה, כי הלא מצות מילה לשמונה היא מצוה ידועה ומפורסמת בתורה, וכן זמן מילת יצחק, ומה החידוש בזה.
The Torah Temimah explains that the language of the Midrash Tanchuma is odd. Who would ask a Rabbi when a child is to be circumcised? Everyone knows that.

However, according to the tale in front of us, one can say that the intention of the Tanchuma was to ask when an infant is circumcised these days - after the reason [for day eight], that a father and mother are permitted to have sex, is cancelled. Since after eight days we [still] have the custom to restrict [them]. And it [the Tanchuma] answers that we circumcise on the eighth day like Yitzchak was circumcised. For back then the Torah had still not been given, nor the rules of niddah. And self evidently, the reason given for this is not related, but nonetheless he was circumcised on the eighth day, and so too today it should be.
אך לפי האגדה שלפנינו י"ל דמכוין התנחומא לשאול לכמה תינוק נימול בזה"ז, אחרי דעתה בטלה הסבה שיהיו אביו ואמו נתרים בתה"מ כיון דאחר שמונה נוהגים איסור,ומשיב דנמול לשמונה כשם שנמול יצחק שאז עדיין לא נתנה תורה ודין נדות וממילא לא היה שייך אז הטעם המבואר בזה, ובכ"ז נמול לשמונה, ולכן גם בזה"ז כן, ודו"ק.
The Torah Temimah tells us that the Midrash was giving us a new reason for the old custom, since the old reason was no longer applicable.

And know that the Rambam, in the Guide, chapter 49, second book [sic, it should actually be book three] he wrote the reason for circumcising on the eighth day is so that the child’s strength will solidify. And there are those who are shocked at him for ignoring the reason in the Gemara and instead writing a reason from his own thought process. However, in truth he did not make up these words from his heart, for they are explained in Midrash Rabbah, the beginning of Parashat [Ki] Tetze, ‘Why is an infant circumcised at eight days? For the Holy One, blessed be He, was merciful towards him so that he could solidify his strength.” As to why the Rambam chose this reason over the one explained in the Gemara, one may say it is the due to the reason in the Gemara not being applicable in this day when we act stringently around the blood of purity.
ודע דהרמב"ם במורה פמ"ט משני [כך במקור] כתב טעם על מילה בשמיני כדי שיתחזקו כחות הולד, ותמהו עליו שהשמיט הטעם שבגמ' וכתב טעם מסברא דנפשיה, אבל באמת לא הוציא דברים אלה מלבו, כי מפורשים הם במ"ר ר"פ תצא בזה"ל ולמה התנוק נמול לשמונה שנתן הקב"ה רחמים עליו כדי שיתחזקו כחותיו, ע"כ. ומה שבחר הרמב"ם בטעם זה יותר מהטעם המבואר בגמ', י"ל משום דהטעם שבגמ' אינו שייך בזה"ז שנוהגים חומרא בדם טוהר.

Part II: Not the Only Reason, But a Consequence
Many apologists, in explaining the practice of niddah - when a woman separates from her husband during the time around her period - use the Gemara’s explanation that the separation increases the desire between the two. This is unlikely to be the only reason, if the reason at all. Otherwise, why not choose a separation that happens at the same time for everyone and cannot go above a set number of days, etc? However, given to an audience which is using niddah as a gateway to creating a bad relationship between husband and wife, explaining that the niddah period should be used as a method to create a better relationship can make the separation period helpful rather than harmful.

ויקרא פרשת מצורע פרק טו
Leviticus, Chapter 15
(19) And a woman, when she is issuing blood, her issuance will be in her flesh; seven days she will be in her niddah, and anyone (thing?) who touches her will be impure until evening.
(יט) וְאִשָּׁה כִּי־תִהְיֶה זָבָה דָּם יִהְיֶה זֹבָהּ בִּבְשָׂרָהּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תִּהְיֶה בְנִדָּתָהּ וְכָל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהּ יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב:

ויקרא פרשת מצורע פרק טו
Leviticus, Chapter 15
(31) You shall keep the children of Israel separate from their impurity and they will not die in their impurity in their making impure My sanctuary that is with them.
(לא) וְהִזַּרְתֶּם אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִטֻּמְאָתָם וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ בְּטֻמְאָתָם בְּטַמְּאָם אֶת־מִשְׁכָּנִי אֲשֶׁר בְּתוֹכָם:
(32) This is the instruction for the zav and one from whom semen issued to impurify him by it.
(לב) זֹאת תּוֹרַת הַזָּב וַאֲשֶׁר תֵּצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת־זֶרַע לְטָמְאָה־בָהּ:
(33) And the one sick through her niddah and the zav who issues, for the male, female, or man who sleeps with one impure.
(לג) וְהַדָּוָה בְּנִדָּתָהּ וְהַזָּב אֶת־זוֹבוֹ לַזָּכָר וְלַנְּקֵבָה וּלְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב עִם־טְמֵאָה: פ

The Torah actually lists four bodily discharges which make one impure: two for each sex, each containing a normal discharge and pathological discharge. For the male, the normal discharge is ejaculation and the pathological is called zav. For the female the normal is her menstruation and the pathological is bleeding outside of her normal cycle.

תלמוד בבלי מסכת נדה לא עמוד ב
Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Niddah 31b
It was taught, R’ Meir used to say, “Why did the Torah say a niddah is for seven days? For he becomes used to her and sick of her, the Torah said, she shall be impure for seven days, so she will be beloved to her husband as the time of her entry to the wedding canopy.”
תניא, היה ר"מ אומר: מפני מה אמרה תורה נדה לשבעה - מפני שרגיל בה, וקץ בה, אמרה תורה: תהא טמאה שבעה ימים, כדי שתהא חביבה על בעלה כשעת כניסתה לחופה.
Rebbi Meir explains that the seven day cycle of separation allows a time for a couple to renew their relationship. He is operating not in the slightly later regime when women separate for their husbands for the duration of their periods plus seven clean days, but in the basic Torah requirement of just seven total days of separation.

דף על הדף נדה דף לא עמוד ב
Daf al HaDaf, Niddah 31b
David Avraham Mandelbaum, 20th Century Israel
In the Pleiti, he explains the question of the Gemara. For sure for a single woman it is understood why the Torah made her impure for seven days, but for a married woman, the world was only created for “be fruitful and multiply,” and he did not create it for nothing but to quell the desire. And the Torah should not be stringent on her that she sits alone for seven days.
בפלתי (סי' קפ"ג סק"ג) ביאר שאלת הגמ', דבשלמא בפנוי' מובן למה התורה טימאה אותה שבעה ימים, אבל באשה נשואה הלא העולם לא נברא אלא לפ"ו, ולא לתוהו בראה אלא לשבת יצרה, ולא הו"ל להתורה להחמיר עליה שתשב גלמודה ז' ימים.
And about this he explained that, just the opposite, via this it creates more connection and grace, for if not for this she is likely to be repulsive to him...
וע"ז תירץ שאדרבה ע"י כן מוסיפים דיבוק וחן, שאלמלא כן עלולה להתגנות עליו...
And this is what the Zahav Shel HaChinukh said, “Our Rabbis, of blessed memory, spoke about the niddah via the basic understanding. I want to say that it was their intention to reveal one of the many positive effects in this commandment - besides its many strong and great bases. And they wrote that there is a benefit to separating from a wife for a short time, so that she will be more desirable for her husband during the proper time, and they will not be disgusted by one another due to their constant close proximity. And then they will turn their eyes to the bodies of others, as do the majority of other nations who are not limited by our strict limitations.
וז"ל הזהב של החינוך (באמצע מצוה קס"ו): ורבותינו זכרונם לברכה אמרו בנדה על צד הפשט, רצוני לומר - שכיונו לגלות "אחד" מן התועלות הגדולות שיש במצוה - מלבד רוב עיקריה הגדולים והחזקים, וכתבו, שיש תועלת בהרחקת האשה קצת זמן, כדי שתתחבב על בעלה יותר בזמן המוכשר, ולא יקוצו זה בזה לרוב התמדת קרבתן, ויתנו עיניהם בגופים אחרים, וכמו שיעשו רוב האומות שאינם גדורים בגדרינו החמורים עכ"ל.

ספרא מצורע - פרשת זבים פרשה ה הלכה יב
Sifra Metzora - Parashat Zavim, Portion 5, Law 12
“The one sick through her niddah.” The original elders would say, “‘She will be in her niddah.’ She should not put on makeup or style her hair until she goes in water.” Until R’ Akiva came and taught, “The matter will invite enmity and he will wish to divorce her.’ What [precept] do I uphold by, “The one sick through her niddah?” Until she goes in water.
והדוה בנידתה זקנים הראשונים היו אומרים תהיה בנידתה לא תכחול ולא תפקוס עד שתבא במים עד שבא רבי עקיבא ולמד נכנס הדבר לידי איבה והוא מבקש לגרשה, הא מה אני מקיים והדוה בנדתה תהא בנדתה עד שתבוא במים.
The original teachers on the topic were inclined to have a wife make herself undesirable to her husband during niddah. Rebbi Akiva, potentially noticing long term consequences, says that this should be the opposite. And the verse used to by the original teachers, to it he gives a different meaning. His Midrash fits well with the later explanation of Rebbi Meir if both are trying to undo marriage issues created by niddah and stigmas around it. Of course, none of this answers why the Torah wants us to have a niddah period at all.


Part III: Checking Eggs for Blood
The Arukh HaShulchan explains the issue with eating blood in eggs. There is no liability for doing so, but the Rabbis decreed one should refrain from some of the blood in eggs. The Arukh HaShulchan explains both why this is and why the modern practice (although less so after the 20th century) is to eschew all blood in eggs and even the eggs themselves. He explains that the Rabbis had us refrain from the blood of eggs because eggs are related to and serve as the creation of birds, the blood of which is forbidden. This may apply even to eggs which are unfertilized are could never turn into meat. Know that the Gemara has a category of eggs laid directly into the ground by chickens separate from any roosters; these eggs are not fertilized. Also know that we do not usually allow for one Rabbinic decree to sit on top of another.
ערוך השולחן יורה דעה סימן סו
Arukh HaShulchan, Yoreh De’ah 66
Article 6
About the blood of eggs, the opinion of the majority of halachik thinkers is, as we taught in the Mishneh in K’ritot, that one is not liable for [eating] the blood of eggs… however, it is forbidden.
סעיף ו
בדם ביצים רבו דיעות הפוסקים דבמשנה דכריתות שנינו דדם ביצים אין חייבין עליו… אבל איסורא מיהו איכא
Article 7
And here in Chullin our Rabbis, of blessed memory, said that if a spot of blood is found on an egg, throw away the blood and eat the rest. Said Rebbi Yirmiyah, “That is when it is found on the place from which the chick forms.” Dostai taught, “We only taught this when it is found on the white. But if it is found in its yolk, even the egg is forbidden.” What is the reason? The decay has spread.
סעיף ז
והנה בחולין [סד ב] אמרו חז"ל נמצא על הביצה קורט דם זורק את הדם ואוכל את השאר אמר ר' ירמיה והוא שנמצא על קשר שלה תני דוסתאי לא שנו אלא שנמצא על חלבון שלה אבל נמצא על חלמון שלה אפי' ביצה אסורה מ"ט דשדי תיכלא כולה ע"ש
And according to Rashi’s explanation, they are not arguing with one another. And the matter is actually that blood is forbidden in any spot in which it is found in the egg. Granted that from the Torah there is no obligation, for the egg is not actually a type of meat, as we have in K’ritot. Nonetheless, it is Rabbinically forbidden as a decree because of the blood of birds from which eggs come, and chicks are created from there, so that this is close to being the blood of meat.
ולפירש"י לא פליגי אהדדי והענין כן הוא דהדם עצמו אסור בכל מקום שנמצא בהביצה דנהי דמדאורייתא אין בו חיוב מפני שהביצה אינו מין בשר כדאיתא בכריתות שם מ"מ מדרבנן אסרוה [תוס' ד"ה והוא] גזירה אטו דם עוף שהביצה בא ממנו והאפרוח נוצר משם דזהו קרוב לדם בשר
And even though from the Torah this is permitted, since now, according to all opinions, it has no meat on it whatsoever, nonetheless, from our Rabbis they prohibited it. And this is not a decree on a decree, since most of us are not experts on the place where the chick forms compared to the rest of [the egg], it was necessary to forbid any blood in eggs in any place it is found. And even for eggs laid in the ground [unfertilized] whose blood is not from a rooster and will never become chicks, nonetheless our Rabbis did not differentiate since they were not experts in this. For an egg even a less than day old egg, which for sure has no chick formation, nonetheless the agreement of the greatest of the later Rabbis [post Shulchan Arukh] is to forbid per our custom. And all the more so for the blood itself. And if so, that is the rule for eggs laid in the ground.
ואע"ג דמן התורה גם זה מותר מפני דעתה עכ"פ אין עליה בשר כלל מ"מ מדרבנן אסרוה [שם] ואין זה מגזרה לגזרה דמפני שאין הכל בקיאין בין מקום הקשר שהאפרוח נוצר ממנו לשארי מקומות בהכרח היה לאסור כל מין דם ביצים ובאיזה מקום שנמצא ואפי' בספנא מארעא שלא ע"י תרנגול דמהן לא יהיו אפרוחים מ"מ לא פלוג רבנן מפני שאינם בקיאים בזה [נ"ל] שהרי אפילו ביצה בת יומא דודאי לא שייך בה יצירת אפרוח מ"מ הסכמת גדולי אחרונים לאסור הביצה לפי מנהגנו שיתבאר וכ"ש לענין הדם עצמו וא"כ ה"הלדספנא מארעא:

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