The Parsha begins with elaborations on laws pertaining to human purity:
דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר אִשָּׁה כִּי תַזְרִיעַ - Speak to the children of Israel, saying: If a woman conceives…. (12:2)
אשה כי תזריע : אמר ר’ שמלאי כשם שיצירתו של אדם אחר כל בהמה חיה ועוף במעשה בראשית, כך תורתו נתפרשה אחר תורת בהמה חיה ועוף – If a woman conceives: Rabbi Simlai said: “Just as in the Creation, man was created after all domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds, so too, the law [concerning the cleanness] of man is stated after the law [concerning the cleanness] of domestic animals, wild beasts, and birds.”- [Vayikra Rabbah 14:1]
The Gemara (Sanhedrin 38a) explores why the creation of man followed the creation of birds and beasts. It concludes that “אחור קודם צרתני – you were formed first and last” (Tehillim 139:5). What does this mean? If a man is worthy, we say he preceded Creation, but if he is a sinner, we say that even a mosquito was created before him, so he has nothing to be arrogant about, given that even minuscule entities such as the mosquito were created before him.
However, this is difficult to comprehend – “If a man is worthy, we say he preceded Creation” – if we examine the reality, man was created last, on the 6th day of Creation, so how are we to understand the Gemara?
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