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“And the L-rd spoke to Moshe saying, Speak to the children of Israel saying, ‘If a woman have conceived seed and born a man child, then she shall be unclean seven days as in the days of her menstrual sickness shall she be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Leviticus 12:2-3).
The Talmud tells us Shabbat 135a that a woman who gives birth is impure after childbirth and if it is a boy he is to be circumcised on the eighth day. The question here is what is the connection between the impurity of a woman and circumcision of her son?
Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l explains in Drash Moshe that every Jewish male child must go through shabbos and then be circumcised. Even if the circumcision is on shabbos, the baby still needs to go through that shabbos. The reason is if we want to be educated in the mitzvos of the Torah then we must understand that it is imperative we are taught to believe in G-d! This is done through our observance of Shabbos which represents that G-d created the world from nothing and He runs it and sustains it. As we say in our prayers every day, G-d is the one who renews (present tense) creation on a daily basis and keeps the world functioning!
Understanding that G-d created the world from nothing and manages it can only be done when a person realizes that their life can be consumed by their desires which is impure. This means that we have to curb these instincts and purify our thoughts and actions so that we will be able to be educated properly. If a person doesn’t fight against their base desires then they will only be subservient to them, causing havoc in their lives.
A woman who doesn’t understand that at this time she is impure (even if this is natural) doesn’t understand the basics of why G-d created the world and what our purpose is. Therefore there is no benefit from the circumcision that it is done on the eighth day but rather it is for the purpose of education which is why this law is dependent on that day specifically.
We learn a very important lesson here and that is we have entrench in our children from a very young age that G-d is part of our lives and that He is in control! Even if our lives are difficult, He is the one putting us in this position so that we will be able to reach our true potential. While G-d’s ways are hidden, we will be shown why we had to go through certain things and it will be made clear what the measure for measure is.
Unfortunately in this world it is very clouded and difficult to fathom why things happen and G-d’s ways are truly hidden which makes that impossible. At the same time, we have to understand that everything happens for a reason even if we can’t fathom what it is!
May we merit to always serve G-d properly regardless of whatever situation we are in.
Rabbi Coffman here
“The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Leviticus 6:6).
Rashi explains that this is the fire that is lit on the outer altar. Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l explains in Derash Moshe that this means when someone teaches their students Torah they need to give over the information in a spirited energetic way! The teaching should not just be in animated way but the material itself has to be explained with the utmost clarity. If a person is all fired up, the information may not be given over in the clearest way.
There Rav Moshe explains that the fire and enthusiasm in which the material is taught should be something external to generate interest from the people that one is teaching but the learning itself must be done thoroughly so that it is understood properly. When a person is over excited and enthusiastic about this, they may end up not speaking in the best way that the students can grasp.
This is a tremendous lesson for anyone who either teaches or just wants to explain something to their kids. The information they give has to come from the heart and they have to communicate it in a way that it can be best be processed. How many fiery speakers are there that get lost in all the antics of entertaining who they are speaking to that the information does not come in the best possible way. Also they could lose their focus and their material will not be understood.
A person has to know not only how to communicate with others but also how to explain things and make them comprehensible. It doesn’t just mean that the person themselves understand what they are trying to say, it has to be clear to the one they are speaking to! After all, if they misconstrue the point or misunderstand it is probably because the person who is teaching them is confused about the material.
If a person wants to teach or explain something to someone, they themselves have to have clarity in it. If they are confused or misinterpret or for whatever reason cannot explain it properly then the other person will certainly not have any clarity at all! We need to learn how to give over information in the clearest possible way so that there are no discrepancies and misunderstandings! Just as important we need to listen to what the other person is trying to tell us.
We cannot derive our own conclusions without hearing them out. Once we have heard what they have said, we then have to digest it and see if what they have told us makes sense or not. It could be that we missed something or didn’t pay careful enough attention to the details. It could also be that that the information wasn’t explained in the best way, causing the confusion in the first place!