Newsletter Parashat Tazria Tahara



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Sephardic World


Sephardic Research: Past, Present and Future

The genealogy landscape has dramatically changed
over the last twenty years. Many Sephardic genealogists are too young to
remember life before the Internet. This week we want to look at how things have
changed, and speculate about where genealogy is heading. We are delighted to
welcome the person whose career helped define these changes.

Schelly Talalay Dardashti has thirty years experience in Jewish genealogy. Her
career encompasses the old world of paper research, journalism, pioneering
Jewish genealogical blogging and creating the world's largest Jewish genealogy
group on Facebook, Tracing the Tribe. She is a well-known and engaging speaker,
and serves as US Genealogy Advisor for

The meeting is on Sunday 18 April 2021 at 11am in LA, 2pm NYC,
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Best wishes,

Ton and David


לוח זמני תפלה לקיץ תשפ״א

Summer Timetable 5781 – 2021

מוצאי שבת



סוף זמן קראת שמע


פלג מנחה (תה״ד)

פלג מנחה (לבוש)

מנחה וקבלת שבת


שבת פרשת




Shema to be read before

Candles to be
lit by


Earliest Candle lighting

Minha & Kabbalat Shabbat*



















16/17 Apr



For those not in the Bet Hakeneset, but wishing to bring in Shabbat with the Kahal, candles should be lit about 30 minutes after the time listed for Minha and Kabbalat Shabbat. (Unless the time listed in the ‘latest candle lighting’ column is earlier, when candles should be lit by that time, in all cases.

Q & A Parashat Tazria
  1. When does a woman who has given birth to a son go to the mikveh?
    12:2 – At the end of seven days.
  2. After a woman gives birth, she is required to offer two types of offerings. Which are they?
    12:6 – An olah and a chatat.
  3. What animal does the woman offer as a chatat?
    12:6 – A tor (turtle dove) or a ben yona (young pigeon).
  4. Which of these offerings makes her tahor (ritual purity)?
    12:7 – The chatat.
  5. Which of the sacrifices does the woman offer first, the olah or the chatat?
    12:8 – The chatat.
  6. Who determines whether a person is a metzora tamei (person with ritually impure tzara'at) or is tahor?
    13:2 – A kohen.
  7. If the kohen sees that the tzara'at has spread after one week, how does he rule?
    13:5 – The person is tamei.
  8. What disqualifies a kohen from being able to give a ruling in a case of tzara'at?
    13:12 – Poor vision.
  9. Why is the appearance of tzara'at on the tip of one of the 24 “limbs” that project from the body usually unable to be examined?
    13:14 – The tzara'at as a whole must be seen at one time. Since these parts are angular, they cannot be seen at one time.
  10. On which days is a kohen not permitted to give a ruling on tzara'at?
    13:14 – During the festivals; and ruling on a groom during the seven days of feasting after the marriage.
  11. In areas of the body where collections of hair grow (e.g., the head or beard), what color hair is indicative of ritual impurity?
    13:29 – Golden.
  12. In areas of the body where collections of hair grow, what color hair is indicative of purity?
    13:37 – Any color other than golden.
  13. If the kohen intentionally or unintentionally pronounces a tamei person “tahor,” what is that person's status?
    13:37 – He remains tamei.
  14. What signs of mourning must a metzora display?
    13:45 – He must tear his garments, let his hair grow wild, and cover his lips with his garment.
  15. Why must a metzora call out, “Tamei! Tamei! “?
    13:45 – So people will know to keep away from him.
  16. Where must a metzora dwell?
    13:46 – Outside the camp in isolation.
  17. Why is a metzora commanded to dwell in isolation?
    13:46 – Since tzara'at is a punishment for lashon hara (evil speech), which creates a rift between people, the Torah punishes measure for measure by placing a division between him and others.
  18. What sign denotes tzara'at in a garment?
    13:49 – A dark green or dark red discoloration.
  19. What must be done to a garment that has tzara'at?
    13:52 – It must be burned
  20. If after washing a garment the signs of tzara'at disappear entirely, how is the garment purified?
    13:58 – Through immersion in a mikveh.

Tahara (Metzora)
  1. When may a metzora not be pronounced tahor?
    14:2 – At night.
  2. In the midbar, where did a metzora dwell while he was tamei?
    14:3 – Outside the three camps.
  3. Why does the metzora require birds in the purification process?
    14:4 – Tzara'at comes as a punishment for lashon hara. Therefore, the Torah requires the metzora to offer birds, who chatter constantly, to atone for his sin of chattering.
  4. In the purification process of a metzora, what does the cedar wood symbolize?
    14:4 – The cedar is a lofty tree. It alludes to the fact that tzara'at comes as a punishment for haughtiness.
  5. During the purification process, the metzora is required to shave his hair. Which hair must he shave?
    14:9 – Any visible collection of hair on the body.
  6. What is unique about the chatat and the asham offered by the metzora?
    14:10 – They require n'sachim (drink offerings).
  7. In the Beit Hamikdash, when the metzora was presented “before G-d” (14:11), where did he stand?
    14:11 – At the gate of Nikanor.
  8. Where was the asham of the metzora slaughtered?
    14:13 – On the northern side of the mizbe'ach.
  9. How was having tzara'at in one's house sometimes advantageous?
    14:34 – The Amorites concealed treasures in the walls of their houses. After the conquest of the Land, tzara'at would afflict these houses. The Jewish owner would tear down the house and find the treasures.
  10. When a house is suspected as having tzara'at, what is its status prior to the inspection by a kohen?
    14:36 – It is tahor.
  11. What happens to the vessels that are in a house found to have tzara'at?
    14:36 – They become tamei.
  12. Which type of vessels cannot be made tahor after they become tamei?
    14:36 – Earthenware vessels.
  13. Where were stones afflicted with tzara'at discarded?
    14:40 – In places where tahor objects were not handled
  14. When a house is suspected of having tzara'at, a kohen commands that the affected stones be replaced and the house plastered. What is the law if the tzara'at:
    a. returns and spreads;
    b. does not return;
    c. returns, but does not spread?

    a. 14:44-45 – It is called “tzara'at mam'eret,” and the house must be demolished;
    b. 14:48 – the house is pronounced tahor;
    c. 14:44 – The house must be demolished.

  15. When a person enters a house that has tzara'at, when do his clothes become tamei?
    14:46 – When he remains in the house long enough to eat a small meal.
  16. What is the status of a man who is zav (sees a flow):
    a. two times or two consecutive days;
    b. three times or three consecutive days?
    15:2 –
    a. He is tamei;
    b. He is tamei and is also required to bring a korban.
  17. A zav sat or slept on the following: a). a bed; b) a plank; c) a chair; d) a rock.
    If a tahor person touches these things what is his status?
    15:4-5 – Only a type of object that one usually lies or sits upon becomes a transmitter of tumah when a zav sits or lies on it. A tahor person who subsequently touches the object becomes tamei and the clothes he is wearing are also tmei'im. Therefore:
    a. tamei;
    b. tahor;
    c. tamei;
    d. tahor.
  18. What does the Torah mean when it refers to a zav who “has not washed his hands”?
    15:11 – One who has not immersed in a mikveh.
  19. When may a zav immerse in a mikveh to purify himself?
    15:13 – After seven consecutive days without a flow.
  20. What is the status of someone who experiences a one-time flow?
    15:32 – He is tamei until evening.


Halachot from Maran Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Ztz'l

ימי ספירת העומר

מנויים יקרים, היום אנו מוסיפים בראש ההלכה, הקלטה ממורינו הראשון לציון
שליט”א, בתשובה לשאלות הנוגעות לימים הללו. תזכו לשנים רבות נעימות וטובות

ימי ספירת העומר, הם ימים שקדושתם מרובה, כמו שכתב הרמב”ן בפירושו
לפרשת אמור, כי ימים אלה שהם ימי ספירת העומר, מחג הפסח ועד לחג השבועות, קדושתם
היא כקדושת ימי חול המועד, ואינם ימי אבל ופורענות כמו ימי בין המצרים
ומרן רבינו עובדיה
יוסף זצ”ל היה מזכיר את דברי הרמב”ן הללו בימי הספירה, כדי שלא יטעו
המון העם לחשוב שימים אלה הם חלילה ימי פורענות

אך בעוונות הרבים, בימים אלה אירע מאורע מצער ומזעזע לעם ישראל, כמו שמבואר
בגמרא (יבמות סב:), “שנים עשר אלף זוגות תלמידים היו לו לרבי עקיבא, וכולם
מתו בין פסח לעצרת (חג השבועות), מפני שלא נהגו כבוד זה בזה”. וכולם מתו
באסכרא. (אסכרה הוא חולי המביא לדום נשימה). כלומר, היתה לו לרבי עקיבא ישיבה
ענקית, שממנה יצאה תורה לכל ישראל, ואילו היו אותם התלמידים ממשיכים לחיות, עד
ימינו אנו, היתה התורה עשירה יותר, ומכוחם וכוח כוחם של אותם התלמידים, בודאי היתה
נמשכת ברכה עצומה לכלל ישראל עד סוף הדורות. ונגזרה הגזירה, ומתו כולם בימים הללו

ובתשובות הגאונים, (הם חכמי ישראל שחיו קודם תקופת הראשונים) נזכר, כי מחמת
המאורע הזה, נהגו כל ישראל שלא לשאת אשה בימים אלה, משום מנהג אבלות
וכן מבואר בפוסקים
שנהגו בימים הללו שלא ללבוש בגד חדש, ולא להסתפר, ולא לשמוע כלי שיר

ובכל זאת לא בכל ימי הספירה נוהגים מנהגי אבלות, אלא עד ליום ל”ד או
ל”ג לעומר. שכן כתב בעל ספר המנהיג, ועוד מרבותינו הראשונים, שביום ל”ג
לעומר, פסקו תלמידי רבי עקיבה למות. וכן פסק הרמ”א (בסימן תצג), שמיום
ל”ג לעומר מותר לערוך שמחת נשואין

אבל מנהג הספרדים שעד יום ל”ד לעומר נוהגים מנהגי אבלות, והימים הללו
אסורים בשמחת נשואין, וטעם הדבר מבואר על פי מה שכתב בספר המנהיג בשם רבינו זרחיה
הלוי, שמצא כתוב בספר קדמון הבא מספרד, שכל תלמידי רבי עקיבא מתו מפסח ועד
“פרוס עצרת”, ומה פירוש הדבר “פרוס עצרת”, “פורסא –
פלגא”, כלומר, פרוס, מלשון פרוסה, שלוקחים שלושים יום מחג השבועות, שהם הימים
הסמוכים לחג השבועות, כמו שאמרו “שואלין בהלכות הפסח קודם הפסח שלושים
יום”, ומחצית מאותם שלושים יום, שהם ט”ו יום קודם חג השבועות, בהם כבר
פסקו תלמידי רבי עקיבא למות

וכן כתבו עוד מרבותינו הראשונים, וביארו שאם נסיר חמשה עשר מארבעים ותשעה
יום שבין פסח לעצרת נשארו שלושים וארבעה ימים. ומכל מקום ביום ל”ד לעומר
עצמו, משעות הבוקר, כבר מותר לשאת אשה משום שמקצת היום ככולו לענין אבילות, וכיון
שכבר עבר קצת מיום ל”ד אין צריך יותר לנהוג אבילות

ומותר לעשות סעודת אירוסין (תנאים, כלומר, סגירת השידוך) בימי ספירת העומר.
ואם באותה שעה נסגר ענין השידוך ממש, יש מיקלים לעשות כן אפילו בכלי שיר

The Omer Counting Period

The period of the counting of the Omer is exalted
indeed and filled with sanctity, as the Ramban writes in his commentary on
Parashat Emor that the days between the holidays of Pesach and Shavuot, i.e.
the Omer counting period, retain the sanctity of Chol Ha’Moed and
are not days of national tragedy and mourning like the Three Weeks between the
Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av. Maran zt”l would
mention this Ramban so that that people would not mistakenly think that these
were ominous days for the Jewish nation.

Nevertheless, a terrible occurrence befell the
Jewish nation during this time, as the Gemara (Yevamot 62b) recounts: “Rabbi
Akiva had twelve thousand pairs of students and they all died between Pesach
and Shavuot because they did not treat each other respectfully.” They all
perished from Askara (an agonizing illness leading to acute
respiratory failure). This means that Rabbi Akiva had a tremendous, flourishing
empire of Torah which served to disseminate the Torah throughout the Jewish
nation and would they remain alive, their Torah and that of their descendants
and pupils would have served to illuminate the torch of Torah for generations
on end. However, it was decreed in Heaven that they all die during this period.

The Responsa of the Geonim (the Sages of Israel of
the generation immediately preceding that of the Rishonim) mention that because
of this tragic event, the entire Jewish nation observes the custom of not
getting married during this period of time as a sign of mourning. It is also
customary not to wear new garments, take haircuts, or listen to music during
this time.

Nevertheless, we do not observe these mourning
customs throughout the entire duration of the Omer period; these customs are
only observed until the 33rd or 34th day of the
Omer, for the Sefer Ha’Manhig and other great Rishonim write that Rabbi Akiva’s
students ceased dying on the 33rd day of the Omer. Indeed, the
Rama (in his gloss on Chapter 493) rules that from the 33rd day
of the Omer, it is permissible to hold weddings.

On the other hand, the Sephardic custom is to
continue these mourning customs until the 34th day of the Omer
and it is forbidden to get married on any of these days. The reason for this is
based on what the Sefer Ha’Manhig has written in the name of Rabbeinu Zerachya
Ha’Levi who had found in any old manuscript that had come from Spain that the
students of Rabbi Akiva died from Pesach until “half of Shavuot.” This means that
the thirty days preceding the holiday of Shavuot are divided in half, i.e.
fifteen days before Shavuot, and on this day, Rabbi Akiva’s students ceased

Other Rishonim concur and write that if we subtract
fifteen days from the forty-nine days between Pesach and Shavuot, the product
will be thirty-four. It is nevertheless permissible to get married immediately
from the morning of the 34th day of the Omer, for the rule
regarding the laws of mourning is that “a portion of the day is likened to the
entire day.” Thus, since a portion of the 34th day of the Omer
has already passed, one need not observe the mourning customs any longer.

It is permissible to hold an engagement party
during the Omer counting period. If the actual Shidduch has
been closed at the time of the celebration (as opposed to at an earlier time),
there are those who rule leniently and allow for music at this party as well.