Parshas Tazria
Leviticus 12:1 -13:59


Parshas Metzoro
Leviticus 14:1 - 15:33

The Tale of Two Words ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of mysticism in Hebrew Gematria is dedicated in the loving memory of Mr. Arnold Student Litman, a graduate of Harvard and an honored World War II hero, may he rest in peace.

In Parshas Tazria there are two words that stand out, Taw May {not clean}and Taw Hoor {clean}.

Taw May {not clean}
Aleph Mem

Taw Hoor {clean}
Reish Vav Hey

Both Taw May and Taw Hoor begin with the same letter, "Tes".

Borrowing several thoughts from the Gematria article entitled "The Letter Tes"...

Tov, meaning "Good", is composed of three letters; in reverse order they are the Bais on the left, the Vav in the center and the Tes on the right. When we consider the letter Tes we connect it with Tov. We think of the Tes as being good. The Tes is constructed of two letters, the Yud and the Zayin. Together they equal the Gematria of 17 which is also the Gematria of Tov, meaning good.
The Yud and the Zayin point to the day of ultimate good in the world, the seventh day, the Shabbos queen. This is represented by the Zayin. When G-d completed His acts of creating He removed the Yud from Ye Shabbos, meaning "He {G-d} rested." The Yud represents the ten commands by which G-d created everything. After this, the Torah refers to the seventh day only as Shabbos.

Tov {good]
17 = Bais 2 Vav 6 Tes 9

In Bava Kama, 55a we are informed that the letter Tes was deliberately left out of the first stone Tablets given to Moshe on Har Sinai because if they had contained the letter Tes which represents "Good", then when Moshe smashed the Tablets into pieces it would have been a sign that all goodness had come to an end on the earth. For that reason Baal Ha Turim states, "The second Tablets contain seventeen words more that the first." This was a sign from Hashem of goodness, seeing as seventeen represents Tov.

Now, holy reader, after establishing the connection between Goodness and the letter Tes we can understand the connection between clean {Taw Hoor} and the Tes of Tov, good.

One must wonder, Why does the same letter {the Tes} also represent Taw May, unclean? Chassidim, essentially everything begins with good, then sometimes something happens.

"What happens?"

"I don't know! It's a mystery!" Notice the arrangement of the letters of Taw May. Observe what they represent: Aleph {G-d} - Mem {Mysteries} - Tes {Good}. Notice that between G-d and what is good is a mystery. However the sequence seems to be... everything begins with goodness, some things remain good... remain clean while other things become unclean. How they become unclean is a mystery. Yet they end with G-d. What I mean by this is that the last letter of Taw May is the Aleph representing G-d! The Aleph represents the point of Parshas Tazria. What is that point? Repentance! Restitution! Return! Parshas Tazria not only describes the uncleanness but also the method of returning to cleanness.

"Why do you say that?"

The Gematria Miluy of Taw May is 610. That means the entire essence of Taw May is just three mitzvahs short of observing the entire Torah. Those three mitzvahs are represented by the three letters of Taw May. The Gematria of Taw May is 50. Fifty represents either the highest level of spirituality or the lowest form of sin. Holy reader, the point to this exercise is that one can be so close to reaching a complete and full life of Torah observance yet be approaching the lowest form of sin.

Taw May {unclean} Gematria Miluy

419 =
Sav 400 Yud 10 Tes 9

80 =
Mem 40 Mem 40

111 =
Peh 80 Lamid 30 Aleph 1

610 = 419 + 80 + 111


Taw May {not clean}
50 = Aleph 1 Mem 40 Tes 9


Well, those who are especially careful to observe and guard the Torah mitzvahs are often greatly revered. We look up to them. We cling to their every word, thought and action. They are so very close to G-d. They are so close to a life of fulfilling every Torah mitzvah. We show them honor. We respect them. That being the situation, it is as if they speak and act for G-d. If a person in this situation says something wrong, Loshan Harrah {speaking evil}, think of the impact! Their action gives the wrong impression of our G-d who is Righteous and who does NOT sin!! It is as if through their action others get the impression that G-d has said something wrong or done something evil, G-d Forbid! Unfortunately many who follow do NOT KNOW when the leader has stopped speaking for G-d! We have one clear example of this in the Torah. It is when Moshe and Aharon struck the rock...

Holy reader, the impact from... the ripple effect of such a holy person saying or doing something wrong is so great that they could go from the edge of the summit to the lowest level in one eye blink... in one heartbeat. The focus of a seriously righteous person who is known and deeply respected in the world community is in this way on the level of the Kohen Godal in the most Holy Place on Yom Kippur. One wrong move can end it all! One error will greatly affect Yiddishkeit.

Now our goal should be to humbly think like and act like our every word, thought and deed will impact the world. What I am suggesting is that each of us live more carefully.

Good Shabbos!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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