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Tazria, Shabbos Hachodesh: Attaining Purity

Updated: Aug 27, 2018

וראה הכהן את הנתק ביום השביעי והנה לא פשה הנתק בעור ומראהו איננו עמוק מן העור וטהר אותו הכהן וכבס בגדיו וטהר.

“And the Kohen should see the lesion on the seventh day, and behold the lesion did not spread on the skin and it didn’t appear deeper than the skin; and the Kohen declares him pure, and he should wash his clothes and purify himself.” (Vayikra 13:34)

The Gemara (Shabbos 118b) states that “even someone who serves idols as in the generation of Enosh, if he keeps Shabbos he is forgiven.” The Taz famously asks: “How do we understand this statement? If a person repents properly then he is forgiven anyway, and if a person serves idols and does not repent, why is he forgiven just because he keeps Shabbos?”

There are various answers to this question, and one of them is that the Gemara is indeed referring only to someone who repents. The Gemara is telling us that there are serious sins for which repentance is not enough, but the person must undergo suffering in order to be cleansed. However, if a person keeps Shabbos, this helps him be forgiven even if he committed very serious transgressions, as long as he repents fully.

In this verse, the Torah is conveying an important message: When a person wants to purify himself of his sins, his best approach is to first go to a tzaddik, someone who would be able to tell him if he is pure or not. “And the Kohen should see the nesek (lesion), on the seventh day.” The word nesek can also be interpreted to mean “torn away.” The tzaddik who is compared to the Kohen will see that the person has been torn away from the Torah, from holiness. Every person is a holech – a “walking being,” which means that his spiritual state is never stationary; he is either growing higher or falling lower. The tzaddik will therefore see on the seventh day, on Shabbos, that “the lesion did not spread,” the person’s estrangement from Hashem did not worsen, because he kept the Shabbos. When the tzaddik sees this, he knows that he can purify the person.

Chassidim of old would travel frequently to tzaddikim, especially on certain Shabbosim, such as Parshas Parah, Parshas Hachodesh, etc. This was because these Shabbosim have special segulos (power) and the tzaddik has the ability to tap into these hidden powers.

Our tzaddikim have written that Parshas Hachodesh has the segulah of “rosh chadoshim – a renewed head”. Even if a person’s head has already been filled with improper thoughts, he can renew his mind and cleanse it completely, until it becomes like a brand new slate. By traveling to a tzaddik on this Shabbos, a person can benefit from this segulah through the tzaddik’s intervention.

This brings us to ask: how can we benefit of these segulos of Shabbos in our days? How can we tap into these powers and renew ourselves spiritually on these special Shabbosim?

The answer is through achdus – unity. When the Jewish people are together with love and brotherhood, they have the power of a tzaddik. Together, we can tap into the special segulos of Shabbos. On Shabbos we can open up new gates and benefit from the segulos of this day just as the Chassidim of old would benefit through the tzaddikim. We should remember to pray for this, so that the merit of the tzaddikim of previous generations should accompany us today.

This too is seen in the verse: “And it didn’t appear...” These words of the possuk can be interpreted to mean: “And he saw that he wasn’t anything.” If a person sees that he, when by himself, isn’t anything at all, but he needs to be together with his fellow Jews in order to count, then “the Kohen can declare him to be pure.” This is why every Jew brought only half a shekel, to show that no one is complete by himself. Only through achdus – unity, can we attain purity.


The month of Nissan is about to begin. The saintly Maggid of Trisk said that we are permitted to say, “Father in Heaven, thus is written in the Torah (Kiddushin 32a), In Nissan we were redeemed and in Nissan we will be redeemed in the future (Rosh Hashana 11a)!” We are allowed to “remind” Hashem that it is high time for us to be redeemed. May we indeed merit the final redemption this month and may we welcome Moshiach with joy.

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