QUESTION: The Beraisa teaches that we derive from the verse, "When the Zav
becomes Tahor" (Vayikra 15:13), that "he counts seven days when he stops
seeing the flow." The Beraisa continues to expound the verse. When the verse
says, "When the Zav becomes Tahor *from his discharge* (mi'Zovo)," it means
that in the case of a Zav who is also a Metzora, he starts counting when his
discharge has stopped, and he does not have to wait until he is Tahor from
the other type of Tum'ah ("mi'Zovo v'Lo mi'Neg'o") in order to start counting
the days of Taharah for his Tum'ah of Zav.
What is the first Derashah teaching? It says that when the Zav stops seeing a
discharge, he may begin counting the seven days. That is obvious! Why would
we have assumed differently without this verse?
(a) RASHI (DH l'ksh'Yifsok) says that we would have thought that he has to be
Tovel right after his discharge stops, before he begins to count. Hence the
verse teaches that he does not have to be Tovel after the discharge stops,
but he may count his days of Taharah first.
The SHITAH on Maseches Megilah (the commentary of a Rishon printed by Rav
Avraham Shoshanah, Ofek Institute, 1999) questions Rashi's explanation. It
seems from Rashi's words that if a person *wants* to be Tovel before he
starts counting, he may be Tovel at that point, and he does not have to be
Tovel after he finishes counting his days of Taharah. How can Rashi imply
that one does not have to be Tovel after counting? It is obvious that one
must count the seven days before he is Tovel!
(b) Perhaps Rashi means to say something else. Without the verse, we would
have thought that the Zav must be Tovel *twice* -- once before he starts
counting and once afterwards. Therefore, the verse teaches that only *after*
he counts does he need to be Tovel.
This is also problematic, because why would we have thought if it were not
for the verse, that a Zav must be Tovel twice?
(c) From the RITVA it seems that the two Derashos of the Beraisa are not two
separate Derashos, but are one Derashah. The Beraisa is saying that a Zav
should count the seven days as soon as his discharge stops, meaning that he
does not have to wait for any other Tum'ah that he might have -- such as the
Tum'ah of a Nega Tzara'as -- to pass until he starts counting.
That might also be what Rashi means. He does not have to be Tovel -- meaning
for his Tzara'as-- before the counting, but rather he may begin counting
immediately the seven days for his discharge, even though he is still a
Metzora. (The words "he may" are not appropriate, since if he wants, no-one
can stop him from waiting until his Tum'ah of Tzora'as has passed before he
QUESTION: RASHI on the Mishnah gives the definition of a Metzora Muchlat. He
says that a Metzora Muchlat is what we call a Metzora "after the seven days
of Hesger (isolation) have passed and the Nega shows signs of Tum'ah" -- at
that point the Metzora becomes a Metzora Muchlat.
Why does Rashi mention that a Metzora Muchlat becomes such *after* the days
of Hesger have passed? The Mishnah (Nega'im 3:3), based on the verses (see
Vayikra 13:3), says that if Simanei Tum'ah appear, such as two white hairs or
a healthy spot in the center of a Nega, then immediately that person becomes
a Metzora Muchlat. He does not have to first go through the stage of being a
Metzora Musgar! (It is only with regard to the Siman Tum'ah of spreading,
"Pisyon" that a Metzora may only become a Metzora Muchlat after first being a
Metzora Musgar.) Why, then, does Rashi describe a Metzora Muchlat as one who
has already been isolated for a week and then Simanei Tum'ah appeared?
Becoming a Metzora Muchlat does not depend on being Musgar for a week!
ANSWER: The PORAS YOSEF answers that Rashi seems to be following his own
opinion in his commentary on the Chumash. Rashi (on Vayikra 13:6) writes that
the verse implies that if a Nega remains on a person's skin for two weeks of
isolation and it does not change, the person becomes Tamei, even though the
Nega has not enlarged. The person becomes Tahor after the two weeks of Hesger
only when the Nega -- in addition to not increasing at all -- has *also*
become lighter in color.
Based on that opinion, Rashi here might be saying that there are two ways for
a Metzora to become a Metzora Muchlat. First, if the days of Hesger pass *and
nothing has changed*, then he becomes a Metzora Muchlat (since Rashi holds
that a Nega that stays the same after Hesger is Tamei). Second, if Simanei
Tum'ah appear at any point, *even in the beginning before Hesger*, the
Metzora becomes a Metzora Muchlat right away. (The "Vav" in Rashi here means
"or," as we frequently find.)
The RAMBAN on the Chumash challenges Rashi from our Gemara. The Gemara says
clearly that the Taharah of a Metzora Musgar depends on "days" and not on his
physical condition ("b'Gufo"); as long as the days of his isolation have
passed without any change in the Nega, he is Tahor. We see from here that a
Metzora Musgar becomes Tahor even if nothing on his body changes!
In defense of Rashi, it could be that Rashi maintains that when the Gemara
says that the Taharah of a Metzora Musgar depends on days and not on his
physical state, it means that the Metzora does not have to wait until the
Nega is *physically healed*. Rather, he becomes Tahor when the whitish color
becomes slightly whiter, even though the Nega is not really healed and is
still white enough to be considered a Nega of Tzara'as (had this been the
first time it was seen). His Taharah depends on the days of his isolation
passing *and* his Nega becoming slightly lighter, but this does not mean that
his Taharah depends upon being *healed*, like the Taharah of a Metzora
Muchlat (who must be "healed" by the disappearance of his Simanei Tum'ah).
This is similar to the Gemara's next description of the Metzora Musgar, when
it says that his Taharah is not dependant upon "Refu'os," meaning that he
does not have to wait for a physical healing process to take place.
This might be why Rashi (DH Asher Bo) explains that when the Gemara says that
the Metzora Muchlat's Taharah is "Taluy b'Gufo," it means that he has to wait
"until it is healed" -- it depends on the Nega having *healed* so that it is
no longer a Nega; in contrast, a Metzora Musgar's Taharah depends on the Nega
having *changed* (become lighter), even though it has not healed.