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Metsora

  
Forward
 14:1  14:2
 14:3
 14:4
14:1 First Reading
God spoke to Moses, saying:
Vayedaber Adonay el-Moshe lemor.
14:2 This is the law concerning the leper when he is purified and placed under the jurisdiction of the priest.
Zot tihyeh torat hametsora beyom tahorato vehuva el-hakohen.
14:3 The priest shall go outside the camp, where he shall examine the leper to determine that the leprous mark has healed.
Veyatsa hakohen el-michuts lamachaneh vera'ah hakohen vehineh nirpa nega hatsara'at min-hatsarua.
14:4 The priest shall then order that for the person undergoing purification there be taken two live kosher birds, a piece of cedar, some crimson [wool], and a hyssop branch.
Vetsivah hakohen velakach lamitaher shtey-tsiporim chayot tehorot ve'ets erez ushni tola'at ve'ezov.



Commentary:

placed under the jurisdiction...
  (Saadia; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Literally, 'he shall be brought,' or, '[the case] shall be brought.'

outside the camp
  See Leviticus 13:46. The leper is not permitted to remain inside a walled city (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 10:7).

kosher
  (Rashi). Literally, 'clean.' See Leviticus 11:13-19.

birds
  Tzipor in Hebrew. According to Talmudic tradition, the bird used was the deror (Negaim 14:1; cf. Psalms 84:4, Proverbs 26:2). Some identify this as the swallow, hirundo in Latin, hirondelle in French (Rashi on Proverbs 26:2; Septuagint on Psalms 84:4). Nevertheless, among the swallows there are some varieties that are kosher and some that are not (cf. Radak, Sherashim, s.v. Derar; Pri Chadash, Orach Chaim 497:9; Pri Megadim, Mishbetzoth Zahav, Yoreh Deah 82:7).

Other sources, however, identify the deror as the sparrow, passer in Latin, and pasra in Old Spanish (Radak on Psalms 84:4; Tifereth Yisrael, Negaim 14:4).

The Talmud apparently identifies the deror with a bird known as the senunith (Chullin 62a; Ramban; cf. Tosafoth Chullin 139b, s.v. Ta Sh'ma; Nekudoth HaKesef, Yoreh Deah 82:7). The Talmud notes that only the white-breasted varieties of this bird are kosher, while the all black ones are not (Chullin 62a; cf. Rashba, Torath HaBayith 65a).

The Targum identifies the senunith with the agur in Jeremiah 8:7, which some also identify as the swallow (Rashi, Radak ad. loc.), rondenella in Italian (Radak, Sherashim). Others, however, identify the senunith as a species of jay, gayo in Spanish, gayt in Old Spanish (Radak, loc. cit.). These were birds of the glandualia family, glondrina in Old Spanish (Beth Yosef, Yoreh Deah 82); hadolo nadrina in Provincial (Rabbenu Yerocham, Toledoth Adam VeChavah 15:21, 132b). As the Talmud notes, the jay is a bird closely related to the crow, but more colorful. To some degree, it can mimic human speech (cf. Radak, loc. cit.).

cedar
  The piece must be at least one cubit (18') long and one-fourth the cross section of a bedpost (Negaim 14:6; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1). Some say that the piece was the size of a hatchet handle (Raavad on Sifra). It appears that a bedpost in those times had approximately the same diameter as an egg (cf. Betza 3b).

crimson wool
  See Exodus 25:4. This consisted of combed out unspun wool (Rashi; Bertenoro, Tosefoth Yom Tov on Negaim 14:1). According to tradition, one shekel (0.8 oz.) of wool would be used (Yoma 42a; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1).

hyssop...
  See Exodus 12:22. The branch would have to be at least a handbreadth (3') long (Niddah 26a; Yad, loc. cit.) See Numbers 19:6.





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