Parshas Tazria

ADAR II, 5779

 Interpreting Artifacts

As in the gift of Manna, so it is in the memory of artifacts

After the exodus from Egypt, Hashem gifted the Jews with manna, ’heavenly bread’, to consume during their travels in the wilderness.

Hashem furthermore commanded Moshe:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר משֶׁ֗ה זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה הֹ' מְלֹ֤א הָעֹ֨מֶר֙ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לְמִשְׁמֶ֖רֶת לְדֹרֹֽתֵיכֶ֑ם לְמַ֣עַן יִרְא֣וּ אֶת־הַלֶּ֗חֶם אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶֽאֱכַ֤לְתִּי אֶתְכֶם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בְּהֽוֹצִיאִ֥י אֶתְכֶ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם

“Moses said, This is the thing that the Lord commanded: Let one omerful of it be preserved for your generations, in order that they see the bread that I fed you in the desert when I took you out of the land of Egypt.”

Like the saved Manna, the Torah is providing us with a template to preserve the meaning of the Holocaust artifact.



Dear Friend,

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan (1839 – 1933), lived in Raduń, Poland where he founded a yeshiva. He was one of the most influential leaders of Torah Jewry during the late 19th and early 20th century, and published numerous sefarim, most notably the Mishna Berura and the sefer Chofetz Chaim.


The pasuk in this week’s parsha states:  

הַצָּר֜וּעַ אֲשֶׁר־בּ֣וֹ הַנֶּ֗גַע בְּגָדָ֞יו יִֽהְי֤וּ פְרֻמִים֙ וְרֹאשׁוֹ֙ יִֽהְיֶ֣ה פָר֔וּעַ וְעַל־שָׂפָ֖ם יַעְטֶ֑ה וְטָמֵ֥א, טָמֵ֖א יִקְרָֽא


 "And the person with tzara'ath, in whom there is the lesion, his garments shall be torn, his head shall be unshorn, he shall cover himself down to his mustache and call out, “Unclean, Unclean!”

In the sefer, Shemiras Halashon, the Chofetz Chaim quotes the Zohar. The Zohar states that when we perform mitzvos, a beautiful garment is created that adorns the neshama when it goes to shomayim. However, when we speak lashon hara, a ruach tumah cancels out those mitzvahs and the gained merit is lost. For example, if someone recited krias shema, and afterward spoke loshan hara, the ruach tumah destroys the mitzvah and it is no longer a garment created for the neshamah.

This, explains the Chofetz Chaim, is alluded to in the pasuk, ‘His garments shall be torn’. The pasuk is referring to one that spoke lashon hara and therefore, his spiritual clothing that were created by previous mitzvah performance have become torn and no longer fitting to be worn by the neshamah. 



וּבַיּ֖וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִ֑י יִמּ֖וֹל בְּשַׂ֥ר עָרְלָתֽוֹ

"And on the eighth day, the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised"


A boy in Kovno was hidden with non-Jews during the Holocaust and never received a bris milah. After the war, he was found and returned to the community. With him was a note that had been written by his mother stating that he was her first-born child. Is a pidyon haben performed prior to the bris?


The pidyon haben has no specific time that it is meant to be done, since there is an obligation to perform the pidyon as soon as the child is born, and this obligation continues until the mitzvah is performed. However, bris milah is to be performed on the eight day and there is a transgression every day afterward that the bris is not performed. Therefore, the bris should be done first.

ממעמקים / חלק ד' / סימן יא

 Click here to read the whole Teshuvah


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