Thoughts from Kollel KLAL


The passuk states “ואת הבית יקצע מבית סביב ושפכו את העפר אשר הקצו אל מחוץ לעיר אל מקום טמא.” Onkelos translates as “and the house he shall peel from inside all around and he shall lift up the dirt that he peeled to outside the city to a contaminated place.” The Nefesh HaGer says that Onkelos translates יקצע which is in singular as יקלפון, they shall peel, in plural. This hints to the Mishnah that teaches both people bring stones to replace the stones that were removed. The Rav M’bartenura says, for example, if there is a wall separating between 2 houses, and the leprosy is seen on one wall, the law is that the neighboring owner of the wall also needs to remove the wall as it states “וחלצו את האבנים אשר בהן הנגע, and they shall remove the stones which has on them the leprosy.” The word וחלצו is plural, indicating that both have to be involved in removing the stones. The Mishnah ends, “both remove, both peel the house, both bring stones, however he himself brings dirt and lines the wall as it states “ועפר אחר יקח וטח את הבית, and other dirt he shall take and line the house.” The lashon יקח and וטח are both in singular, which reflects that the person who has the house with the leprosy, he alone takes the dirt and lines the wall. Although יקצע is in singular, as it states יקח and וטח, which are singular, Onkelos specifically translates יקצע in plural, in order to hint to the Mishnah that teaches both need to participate in its removal from the wall.

The Gemara quotes Abaya who said “woe is to the rasha, woe is to his neighbor.” Rashi brings b’shem the Toras Kohanim, the passuk which states וחלצו את האבנים”” refers to a leprosy which is situated on the corner stone of 2 houses adjacent to each other. The corner stones of both houses have to be removed, although the leprosy is only seen in this one’s house; the one who was stingy with his vessels. His neighboring friend is struck because of him. From here Chazal say “woe to the rasha, woe to his neighbor;” one affects the other. To extrapolate: If for bad one is affected from another, then since the good middah is better than the bad, for sure the saying is true, “good for the tzaddik, good is for his neighbor to affect him for good.”

The Mishnah teaches “do not connect to a rasha.” The Rav M’bartenura explains, whoever joins them, although they don’t actually act like them, will get blame like them. This is comparable to one who enters a tannery place and leaves without buying any hide. He will smell bad when he leaves since he was around a foul odor. The Mishnah teaches “your house should be a gathering place for Chachamim.” The Rav M’bartenura explains it is not possible that you won’t learn some of their wisdom from them. This is comparable to one who enters a perfume store and leaves without buying any perfumes. He will smell good when he leaves since he was around good smelling aroma. We see a person is automatically affected merely by osmosis from his surroundings, both physically and spiritually.

In Parshas Bamidbar it mentions the campings and travelings of Bnei Yisrael in the desert. Rashi explains that Reuven camped in the south next to Kehas, the family of Korach. “Woe is to the rasha woe is to his neighbor.” Dasan and Aviram and 250 men from Reuven were drawn after Korach and his group and they all got punished. The Midrash Tanchuma adds all 3 tribes, Reuven, Shimon, and Gad were destroyed with Korach and his argument. Whereas Yehuda, Yissachar, and Zevulun camped in the east, next to Moshe and Aharon and his sons. Rashi explains “good is to the tzaddik good is to his neighbor.” Since they were the neighbors of Moshe who learned Torah therefore these tribes became great in Torah. HaRav Binyamin Cohen shlita pointed out, it does not say that Moshe taught them Torah, rather they were next to Moshe who learned Torah. We see, just by observing Talmidei Chachamim it kindles the spark and inspires a person to improve his ruchniyus and grow in Torah.

May Hashem help us be around good surroundings and be affected by them for good.

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