"When a woman emits seed and gives birth to a male, she becomes impure." (Lev. 12:2)

Husband and wife are so unified that repentance performed by the husband can affect that status of his wife's purity….

The Talmud tells how three heavenly keys - to rain, childbirth, and revival of the dead - are not given over to an emissary, but are in G‑d's hands alone. (Taanit 2a) If G‑d controls the womb, how can impurity come from it? The answer is that impurity enters only after the pregnancy ends. The Kotzker Rebbe explains that in every important event, when holiness is strengthened, impure energies are also roused. Because of the power of pregnancy and birth, to which G‑d controls the key, impurities are kept out until the baby is born. Then the holiness leaves, and impure energies gain entry. This is similar to the impurity that overtakes the body once the soul leaves. Similarly, when we excel in some area, especially in something Jewish, there is a danger of being unconsciously overwhelmed by negative energies and subsequently backsliding. Keep up your guard, and use each special event as a step to move higher.

"And he offered it before G‑d...and the source of her blood was purified." (ibid.12:7)

Judaism teaches that a husband and wife are interconnected on a multitude of physical and spiritual planes. Parashat Tazria brings an example of this, regarding the above sacrifice offered after birth. The Chozeh of Lublin notes that the verse can also be read, "And he came closer to G‑d...," referring to a husband's repentance. Husband and wife are so unified that repentance performed by the husband can affect that status of his wife's purity. When we examine our interpersonal relationships, we must remember that we are connected on levels beyond the obvious.

Today it is often hard to tell what is up and what is down….

Former fighter pilot Professor Shlomo Kalish spoke about a recent tragic event in which a F-16 plane crashed. The pilot became confused due to vertigo and could not distinguish in which direction he was flying. Professor Kalish explained that at elevated heights and fast speeds, even in the daytime, sea and sky look the same. While it is natural to fly according to sense perception, much of a pilot's training is to force him to rely on cockpit instruments. Over and over they are told, especially in a case of doubt, to rely on instruments. His conclusion was that we are in a similar situation today: it is often hard to tell what is up and what is down. Our own sense perceptions of heaven and earth often mislead us. It is imperative that we fly our lives according to the instruments of Torah.


The arrival of the Redemption includes two elements: the merit of our divine service and G‑d's promise to send Mashiach. From this we can understand the divided opinions of the Sages as to in which month the Redemption will occur. Some say it will be in the month, Nissan, as was the first redemption from Egypt; others say it will occur in Tishrei, six months later, the month of the High Holidays. Chassidut explains that Nissan is when an effluence of divine light descends from above, as occurred at Pesach when G‑d performed miracles to save us. Tishrei and the High Holidays involve the repentance we do - our spiritual efforts. This parallels the two opinions above: Nissan corresponds to G‑d's promise, and Tishrei to our efforts.

But what, in fact, was the ultimate answer of the Sages? That Mashiach will come during Nissan! The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that the principle aspect of the Redemption is divine light being revealed from Above. The Redemption must be in Nissan because the sheer power of the revelation will far outshine the light produced by our spiritual efforts here below. Looking carefully from our "almost-Redemption" vantage point, we can already see the supra-natural beginning to overtake and replace the natural world.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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