Parshas Metzora 5774
(Based on Zera Shimshon Metzora “beis” pg 35)
In Parshas Braishis, after Kayin killed Hevel and Hashem exiled him from Gan Eden, the Torah tells us that Kayin was afraid that the wild animals would attack him. Hashem therefore placed on him a sign to protect him (Braishis 4/15).
There are two opinions in the Medrash what that sign was. Rebbi Yehudah explains that Hashem shone the sun on him.
Rebbi Nechemya argues because such a wicked person doesn’t deserve sunlight. Rather, Rebbi Nechemia explains that Hashem inflicted him with tzorras (a type of leprosy)!
Zera Shimshon asks what is the point of argument between Rebbi Yehuda and Rebbi Nechemyah? What led Rebbi Yehuda to take the position that Hevel was not wicked? And how does Rebbi Nechemya understand that tzorras will protect Hevel from being attacked by wild animals?
He explains that their postions are based on a different machlokos (dispute) (Medrash Rabah Braishis 22/7) of what was the conversation between Kiyan and Hevel that preceded Kiyan killing Hevel.
Rebbi Yehuda holds like the opinion that their argument was in whose property will the Bais HaMikdash be built (and subsequently who will be the Kohen). Kiyan claimed that he was the first born and therefore he deserved that the Bais HaMikdash should be on his property and he also deserved to be the Cohan. He therefore felt that Kiyan was trying to take the kehuna from him and therefore felt that he had the right to kill him. He happened to be wrong but he wasn’t a mazid (since he thought that halachly he was right). He was only a shoggag. This being so, his exile from Gan Eden was enough to fully atone for his sin and he was worthy of having the sun shine on him.
Rebbi Nechemyah on the other hand was of the opinion that they were argueing over the inheritence- who will inherit all of Adam’s land and who will inherit the rest of his possesions. This being the argument, there is no justification for his killing and he was a mazid and the exile from Gan Eden was not enough to atone for him.
This is why Rebbi Nechemya rejected the opinion that the sun shone on him- such a wicked person doesn’t deserve sunlight.
What could help him, though? Tzrorras!
The Yalkut Shemoni writes that the students of Rebbi Yossi b’Rebbi Channina asked him what will be when the cities of refuge (Orrai Miklat) will be destroyed? He answered that they should run to the Torah. In other words, The Torah has the power to atone for murder.
But what will cause Kayin to learn Torah.
Zera Shimshon quotes the possuk in Mishlei “The cure for bad speech is aitz chaim (tree of life). We learn from this possuk that the Tree of Life is the remedy for bad speech (which, like we learn from Miriam causes tzorras).
Zera Shimshon concludes, since Kayin was still in need of atonement Hashem brought upon him trazzos in order that he will learn Torah (to be cured of his tzorras) and automatically he will also have atonement for the killing of his brother Hevel! After this happens there will be no need for him to be afraid that wild animals will attack him.