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The Weekly Share – 1 Nissan

The Weekly Share – 1 Nissan

Food For the Soul

Healthy Selfishness

In the Parsha Tazria we have the description of afflictions which may beset man, the examinations by the kohen, and the laws of the quarantine, if necessary. The Mishnah teaches that “all afflictions one sees, except his own.” No man examines his own afflictions; another must do this. The Torah describes physical disease, but the physical meaning does not exhaust the implications of these laws. The Mishnah’s teaching is especially apt.

Afflictions, moral shortcomings, are obvious and readily condemned in another. We are sensitive to the grossness of another’s poor manners, repelled by arrogance, shocked by stinginess, dismayed by that fellow’s insufferable complacency. We are struck with the full force of the repulsiveness of his poor character traits and moral deficiencies. Our clarity of vision, our objectivity, our courage and candor in denouncing shortcomings “right to his face” is a source of considerable pride to many of us. No fault escapes detection and forthright denunciation. “All afflictions man sees . . .”

But must we carry the burden of constantly correcting everyone’s failings on our shoulders? Will we be forgiven if we ignore others’ afflictions for a while as we examine our own? May our spiritual ministrations be directed toward ourselves, just for a while? This selfishness may be exercised with impunity. Let’s be selfless, if we must, in more mundane affairs.

Rabbi Zalman Posner

Shabbat Shalom

Parshat Hachodesh

Saturday, April 2, 2022 is the 1st of Nissan. On the Shabbat that falls on or before the 1st of Nissan, a special reading called “Hachodesh” (Exodus 12:1-20) is added to the regular Shabbat Torah reading. Hachodesh recounts G-d’s historic communication to Moses in Egypt on the 1st of Nissan (2 weeks before the Exodus) regarding the Jewish calendar, the month of Nissan and the Passover offering.

Mind Over Matter

Vulnerability: The Hallmark of Growth

Growth is only possible if we subject ourselves to vulnerability. If we refuse to leave our comfort zone, we will never have new experiences or discover new abilities. Think of a crab. It can’t grow a new shell; it remains tucked into the old one, but as the crab grows, it requires a larger casing. So, it chucks its old one, burrows itself into soft sand to escape potential danger, and grows a new one. While between shells, the crab experiences profound vulnerability, yet it doesn’t shy away from what must be done in order to grow. We too must take social and spiritual risks in order to grow. To climb, we must risk the possibility of falling, but we put ourselves in G-d’s hands and move forward. 

From an article by Rabbi Lazer Gurkow

Moshiach Thoughts


The parshiyot of Tazri’a and Metzora deal with the laws of tzara’at (conventionally translated as “leprosy”): the diagnosis of the symptoms of this disease which incurs a state of ritual impurity; how to deal with those afflicted by it; and the procedures of purification following its cure… For as long as the galut [exile] persists, Moshiach is called chivara (afflicted with tzara’at). He himself is essentially pure and perfect, and his affliction merely reflects the condition of galut. The very moment of the redemption, when Moshiach will be revealed and his real being and righteousness will become manifest to all, that is “the day of his purification.”

From an article by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet

Have I Got A Story

Why Did G-d Bother?

As a mohel, I’m often asked to speak to students about the mitzvah of circumcision. I usually walk into the classroom with my circumcision kit, tell some inspiring stories about circumcision, exhibit the tools of my trade, and answer a few questions. The boys tend to be interested in the gory details, while the girls wonder about the rationale behind the mitzvah.

But on one occasion, this presentation took a very unexpected, philosophical turn. I was explaining to the kids that we perform a circumcision on the eighth day of a boy’s life, even if that day happens to be Shabbat, or even Yom Kippur, which we learn from the Parsha Tazria. Although we’re not allowed to perform any other elective surgery on a holy day, circumcision is the exception.

Why does circumcision supercede Shabbat, the day that G-d rested from creating the world? Because circumcision is so fundamental to our faith that the Talmud teaches that had it not been for circumcision, G-d wouldn’t have created the world in the first place.  Therefore, when Shabbat and the eighth day collide, Shabbat “steps aside” and allows the circumcision to proceed.

Although I had explained this beautiful idea numerous times, on this occasion, one of the kids in the class challenged me. He was puzzled by my assertion that G-d had created the world with the intention that a Jewish nation would eventually arise and agree to circumcise their sons. Although he accepted the premise that G-d created the world, and he was willing to accept the concept of a Chosen Nation, he had always assumed that the Jewish nation had spontaneously arisen and had then been selected for special responsibilities. As other children chimed in, I could see that they, too, were confused.

At this point, I realized I had to back up a few steps and explain the purpose of creation. “A builder would never just start laying bricks without preparing a blueprint of how he expects the eventual house to look,” I explained. “And neither does a football coach send his team out to the field without knowing the stakes for which they play. G-d made a world and populated it with animal, vegetable and mineral life in the expectation that a nation would eventually form and play a central role in justifying His effort.

“You are so important,” I concluded, “that the universe and all that’s in it was constructed with you in mind. Your every word and action has the potential to justify G-d’s decision to create the world.”

And thus, those kids highlighted a message that I had never specifically derived from Parshat Tazria—that our mitzvahs are the fundamental purpose for creation.

Rabbi Elisha Greenbaum

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