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A Convert’s Benefit
‘Blemishes Are Only Post Sinai’
(Horayos 10a)



The baraisa on our daf derives from Vayikra 13:2 — “A man who shall have a blemish on the skin of his flesh…” – that a metzorah is tamei only if his affliction occurred after the revelation at Sinai. If, on the other hand, an individual was already afflicted before that time, he is not tamei.

The Midrash (Bamidbar Rabbah, Parshas Naso 7:1 and cited by Ran to Nedarim 7b s.v. “Shene’emar”) relates that when Bnei Yisrael stood at the foot of Mount Sinai ready to accept the Torah, Hashem miraculously healed all those who were sick and/or handicapped. Many of the commentators, therefore, question the relevance of our baraisa’s exposition.

Other commentators (Chok Nassan ad loc.; Mitzpe Eisan to Nedarim 7b; Hagahos Maha’rid to Toras Kohanim, Parashas Tazria; and Klei Chemda to Parashas Shemos) note that the laws of Nega’im were first given sometime later than at Sinai. Thus, what is meant here, on our daf, is that if one was afflicted before the laws of blemishes (nega’im) were given, he is not considered ritually defiled.

The Golden Calf

The She’elas Shalom (cited by Mitzpeh Eisan to Nedarim 7b) suggests that the baraisa‘s exposition is necessary because the Midrash explains that when Bnei Yisrael sinned with the egel, Hashem reinstated all the illnesses and ailments from which He had previously healed them. These illnesses were considered reoccurrences of earlier conditions, not new illnesses.


He acknowledge that the Ran (to Nedarim 7b) appears to disagree with the above premise since the Ran states clearly that a pre-Sinai affliction was subject to all the same restrictions and a person with such an affliction must be banished to an area beyond the encampment for the duration of his affliction. The Maharetz Chayos (to Nedarim 7b) seems to resolve this difficulty; he writes that although the person is banished, he is not tamei.

A Relevant Situation

The Hafla’ah (cited in Panim Yafos to Parshas Tazria) suggests that the exposition is necessary for unusual cases – e.g., a ger who was afflicted before his conversion. If his condition remained the same after his conversion, it is considered an ongoing affliction and he is not considered tamei.


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Rabbi Yaakov Klass is Rav of K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush; Torah Editor of The Jewish Press; and Presidium Chairman, Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim.