Friday, April 11, 2008

Parshas Metzora 5768

וְהֶעֱמִיד הַכֹּהֵן הַמְטַהֵר, אֵת הָאִישׁ הַמִּטַּהֵר--וְאֹתָם: לִפְנֵי יְהוָה, פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד.
” The kohein doing the purification, shall place the man undergoing the purification and the [aforementioned] items, before Ad-noy, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.”

" At the Nicanor Gate, and not in the [outer] court itself". - Rashi

The Torah tells us while the Kohein is performing the sacrifices associated with the purification process of the Metzora, he may not enter the court itself, but must wait at this "Nicanor Gate." The Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov in his Shemen haMor explains why the Metzora must wait specifically at the gate named after Nicanor.

He brings down the story involving Nicacor from the Gemara in Yoma (38a). The story goes that Nicanor traveled to Egypt to buy a pair of doors for the Beis haMikdash. On the boat ride back to Israel there was a horrible storm on the boat, and it was in desperate danger of sinking unless those aboard the boat dumped some weight into the ocean. Initially, they took one of the doors made in Egypt, without protest from Nicanor, and pitched it into the ocean. However, after getting ready to throw the 2nd door overboard, Nicacor grabbed a hold of the door and said, "if you're going to throw the door in, then you may as well throw me in." Upon displaying this Mesiras Nefesh, the wicked storm calmed and the boat made it back to Israel. As they were unloading the one door that had managed made it, the workers noticed something on the underside of the boat - the 2nd door had miraculously traveled with the boat's current all the way back to the holy land.

This story provides a tremendous amount of Chizuk, as there are certainly plenty of times in one's life, that, for whatever reason, it just doesn't seem like anything good is forthcoming. Whether it be because something bad happened to us and we think that we'll never recover from it; or whether something good happened to us and we lament not being able to attain that again - we should look at the story of Nicanor and realize that just when it seems like something negative is sure to come our way, Hashem comes through for us.

This is what the Metzora is likely thinking after his ordeal - after having a skin disease and going through the arduous atonement process; he is likely to think that he'll never be able to attain his original place with the Jewish people. However, the Kohein makes him wait by Nicanor gate to remind him, that just as Hashem came through for Nicanor when it seemed as if his mission had failed, Hashem can come through for the Metzora, and for all of us.