by Rabbi Yaakov Menken
This week's Parsha follows upon the last, and describes the purification
process of a cured Metzora - one who fell victim to the illness of tzara'as.
At the conclusion of the process, he or she must bring sacrifices to the
Temple, which are ordinarily two male and one female lambs. If, however,
this is beyond what the individual can afford, the requirement is reduced to
one male lamb and two doves or pigeons.
Rabbi Yisroel Mayer Kagen, known as the Chofetz Chaim, derives a lesson from
this passage that is especially appropriate to those of us living outside
large Jewish communities. He says that many people pray, learn and do
Mitzvos, and they say to themselves, "well, if I'm not doing things so
perfectly, at least I'm doing a great deal better than my friends and
They fail to realize - writes the Rabbi - that they are rich in knowledge
that their friends lack. A poor person can bring two doves or pigeons, but
a rich person who brings a poor man's sacrifice has not fulfilled his
obligations. So too, while those who lack knowledge may be able to satisfy
their Creator with minimal performance of the Mitzvos, those who "know
better" are expected to act accordingly.
Text Copyright © 1995 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.