The Shabbos Table – Metzora: R’ Y. Sacks Shlita: Badad Yeisheiv – The Plight of the Metzora

This D’var Torah should be a Zechus L’Ilui Nishmas my mother Chaya Rochel Bas Dovid Tzvi A”H, my sister Kayla Rus Bas Bunim Tuvia A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my maternal grandfather Dovid Tzvi Ben Yosef Yochanan A”H, my paternal grandfather Moshe Ben Yosef A”H, my paternal grandmother Channah Freidel Bas Avraham A”H, my uncle Reuven Nachum Ben Moshe & my great aunt Rivkah Sorah Bas Zev Yehuda HaKohein,

It should also be in Zechus L’Refuah Shileimah for:

-My father Bunim Tuvia Ben Channa Freidel

-My grandmother Shulamis Bas Etta


-Mordechai Shlomo Ben Sarah Tili

_R’ Simcha Yitzchak Ben Mirela Yudka

-Chaya Rochel Ettel Bas Shulamis

-Yonatan Menachem Mendel Ben Orly, Eli Aharon Michel Ben Chaya

-It should also be a Z’chus for an Aliyah of the holy Neshamos of HaRav HaGa’on V’Sar HaTorah Shmaryahu Yosef Chaim Ben HaRav Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky A”H, Dovid Avraham Ben Chiya Kehas—R’ Dovid Winiarz ZT”L, Miriam Liba Bas Aharon—Rebbetzin Weiss A”H, as well as the Neshamos of those whose lives were taken by terrorists (Hashem Yikom Damam) and other tragedies.

-It should also be a Z’chus for success for Tzaha”l as well as the rest of Am Yisrael during this dire time, in Eretz Yisrael and in the Galus.

-The wounded should experience Refuah Shileimah, the captives should be returned safely, the fallen should experience Kevurah and Aliyah for their Neshamos and Nekamah for their Dam, their Krovim should experience Nechamah, the Chayalim should be Matzliach and Minatzei’ach, and Am Yisrael should experience Geulah.







Be”H, I will be translating / transcribing / paraphrasing Divrei Torah of my Rebbi, HaGaon R’ Yonason Avner Sacks Shlita. (Any inaccuracies, whether added, misrepresented, or due to omission and/or points lost in translation or context should be attributed to me alone. * = My addition.)







“Badad Yeisheiv – The Plight of the Metzora”



Based on:

Sicha – Tazria-Metzora: Badad Yeisheiv—parshas-tazria-metzora-badad-yeisheiv

Sicha – Metzora: Badad Yeisheiv



The Plight of the Metzora


It is not so unusual for someone with a degree of Tumah to be isolated from a certain area of the Mikdash Hashem, but to be fully sequestered and not even allowef to enter the Machaneh Yisrael is a unique to the plight of the Metzora.

Here, the Torah tells us, “בָּדָ֣ד יֵשֵׁ֔ב מִח֥וּץ לַמַּֽחֲנֶ֖ה מֽוֹשָׁבֽוֹ” (“alone he sits, outside the camp shall be his dwelling” -Vayikra 13:46).

The Gemara in Arachin (16B) is troubled that, why is this the treatment of the Metzora? That is where the Gemara links the Tumas Tzara’as of the Metzora to Lashon HaRa. If he engaged in slanderous Rechilus, he suffers Midah K’negged Midah; he caused dissension “Bein Ish L’Ishto” (between man and his wife), “Bein Ish L’Rei’eihu” (between man and his friend), the Torah declares that he be separated, “Badad Yeisheiv.”


A Striking Parallel


Aside from the Midah K’negged Midah that the Metzora suffers, if one were to look at the Pesukim along with what the Gemara describes in Mo’eid Katan (15A), one will notice a striking parallel.

The Torah and the Gemara tells us all of the following requirements of the Metzora:


● It is necessary for the Metzora to rip Kriah (tear his clothing)

● He must allow his hair to grow out

● It is Assur for him to put on Tefilin

● There is an Issur of She’eilas Shalom (greeting the Metzora)


When you look at this series of Halachos, the parallel clearly emerges. Rashi is explicit, and similar the Rambam (Hilchos Tumas Tzara’as 10:6), with a single word, “K’Avel” (“like a mourner”). The Metzora engages in Nihugei Aveilus (practices of mourning).


Metzora – The “D’Orayisa Model” for Aveilus


And perhaps one could even suggest a “flip,” that it is not that Dinei Metzora are patterned after Dinei Aveilus, but precisely the reverse is true. After all, very little is mentioned in Chumash regarding Aveilus. Yes, Aninus (the pre-burial mourning period), is a Din D’Orayisa. There is a Machlokes Rambam and the Ba’alei HaTosafos whether or not Aveilus itself is D’Orayisa; according to the Rambam, it is only D’Orayisa when the death and burial take place on the same day.

But from where do we derive the Dinei Aveilus? Perhaps, the source is Metzora. By extension, what is true of the Metzora is true of Aveilus. The Metzora is the D’Orayisa model for Aveilus.


Whom is the Metzora Mourning?


What is the basis for this parallel between Dinei Metzora and Dinei Aveilus? For whom is the Metzora apparently mourning?


Not it is true not only in Milei D’Aggadah (idealistic, non-legal matters), but in Milei D’Halacha (matters of law), that which the Gemara says in Nedarim (64B), that “Metzora Chashuv K’Meis” (“A Leper is considered like deceased”).

Why exactly is this true? We have a potent lifeline. It is not simply the inherent, individual Kedushas Yisrael that each of us has individually. But, it is the fact that we are part of a collective, cohesive Tzibur, the community of Kneses Yisrael. To be linked to Kneses Yisrael gives a great sense of Chiyus (life). When all of a sudden, a Metzora is told, “Badad Yeisheiv,” that he has to be isolated, sequestered, absolutely by himself, that posits Dinei Aveilus. That is why “Metzora Chashuv K’Meis.”


Why does the Metzora engage in Nihugei Aveilus? Whom is he mourning? The Metzora mourns himself! Because he has severed his link to the Tzibur. Perhaps the seven days of Tumah and Taharah finds a parallel in the Shiva of Aveilus.


Metzora vs. Aveilus – Nihugei Aveilus on Yom Tov


There is, however, an exception. If a person, Rachmana L’tzlan, loses a close relative on Yom Tov or Chol HaMo’eid, or if one is in Aveilus at the onset of Yom Tov, Yom Tov severs Aveilus. That is because the Simchas Yom Tov and Aveilus cannot co-exist. One cannot experience Simchas Yom Tov and simultaneously practice Nihugei Aveilus.

But, is it so obvious that Simchas Yom Tov takes preference over Dinei Aveilus? And here is where Metzora is exceptional; because, contrary to an Avel, even during a Regel, on Yom Tov, a Metzora has no reprieve; he continues to engage in Nihugei Aveilus (Mo’eid Katan 14B).

And if this is true for Metzora, then how do we know that generally speaking, when Aveilus coincides with Yom Tov, that Simchas Yom Tov trumps Dinei Aveilus? I understand that Simcha amd Aveilus cannot co-exist, but why is Simcha front and center, that Aveilus is delayed or suspended? (And why is this not the case for a Metzora?)


Metzora vs. Aveilus – Simcha D’Rabbim


The Gemara (Ibid.) raises this very question, why Simchas Yom Tov trumps Aveilus, and answers that “Asi Mitzvah D’Rabbim V’Dachi Mitzvah D’Yachid” (lit., the Mitzvah of the public comes and overrides the Mitzvah of the individual).

One’s Aveilus is a personal experience, whereas his Simchas Yom Tov is due to his attachment to the Tzibur. If it’s a choice of Yachid versus Rabbim, in this case, Rabbim trumps. Therefore, “Asi Mitzvah D’Rabbim V’Dachi Mitzvah D’Yachid.”

But, this is not true when it comes to the Metzora. “Badad Yeisheiv,” he sits alone. If the question is whether or not he participates in the Simcha of the Rabbim, the answer is that has already separated himself from the Rabbim. Therefore, he is treated as Yachid. Even on Yom Tov, a Metzora will continue Nihugei Aveilus.


Metzora vs. Aveilus – Eisek BaTorah


There is another difference, namely the Issur for an Aveil to experience Eisek BaTorah (engagement in Torah learning). After all, ״.פִּקּוּדֵי ה׳ יְשָׁרִים מְשַׂמְּחֵי לֵב״ (Tehilim 19:9). There is no greater sense of Simcha than Eisek BaTorah. A fundamental part of the Dinei Aveilus is to feel the void, the vacuum, the Mi’ut (diminution) of Kavod Shamayim.


But, what about the Metzora? How does he spend his day of “Badad Yeisheiv”? The Rambam emphasizes: “Yosheiv V’Shoneh V’Doreish” (lit., he sits, he reviews, he expounds), the mission is to be Oseik in Torah. That is because it is through his Eisek BaTorah that the Metzora will realize his Cheit and shortcoming.

Through Eisek BaTorah, he will re-enter the Tzibur because our link to the Torah is not in the fact that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave us the Torah individually; “Asher Bachar Banu…V’Nasan Lanu…” (lit., that He chose us…and He gave us…”). It is the fact that we are part of a collective, that we are a Tzibur, that HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave us the Torah. Therefore, the Teshuvah and re-emergence of the Metzora necessitates his Eisek BaTorah.



*We should be Zocheh to fulfill our responsibilities, both individual and communal, in Eisek BaTorah and otherwise, to celebrate the Simcha D’Rabbim this Pesach, re-emerge in Teshuvah and re-experience Geulah in the ultimate sense with the coming of Moshiach, Bimheirah BiYomeinu! Have a wonderful Shabbos HaGadol!