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B"H

Tazria – Metzora - Loving the Despised

Shalom and Bracha!

This Shabbat we read the portions of Tazria and Metzora, which discuss at length the laws of Tzora’at, generally translated as leprosy. Three forms of Tzora’at are discussed in the portions: the home, the clothing and the skin. Tzora’at of the home was a sudden green or red growth on the walls. Tzora’at of the clothing was a sudden red or green growth on clothing. Tzora’at of the skin was a sudden growth of either white or bright red skin. The Metzora had to be quarantined in his home and if the growth continued he had to be removed from the community until he was healed. Rashi explains that Tzora’at was a punishment for slander. First the home would develop Tzora’at. If the slanderer was wise, he repented. If not, his clothes were next. If he still didn’t repent, his skin was next. If he still didn’t repent, he was exiled.

Before the Kohen would investigate a home and declare the Tzora’at, the home would be emptied. The reason for this was that once the home was declared Tzora’at, everything inside would become impure, causing financial suffering to the owner.

There is an interesting law concerning Tzora’at. The Metzora only became impure after the Kohen saw the Tzora’at and declared him impure. Under certain circumstances, the Kohen had to wait. A groom was given the entire seven days of his wedding feast before the Kohen checked him. During Holidays, the Kohen didn’t check in order not to mar the joy of the holiday.

The Torah teaches us powerful lessons. The Kohen did both the initial declaration of impurity and the purification later when the condition healed. The Kohen did not need to be a scholar. In fact, he could be ignorant of the laws of Tzora’at, and make the declaration relying upon a scholar who was not a Kohen. It was the declaration of the Kohen, however, that affected the impurity and purity. Kabbalah teaches that the Kohen personifies kindness. Aharon, the father of the Kohanim, loved peace and pursued peace. There can be a person who it seems needs to be separated from the community to be healed because his slander and denigration are a danger to others. This determination must be by someone with the attributes of a Kohen, one who truly loves everyone. Only he is free from prejudice. Further, through kindness we can heal. If someone is divisive, and we truly love that person, we can help him rise above his divisiveness. This is why the purification of the Tzora’at was through the Kohen.

The Metzora was a wicked slanderer. Nevertheless, Hashem command that we worry about his financial well being. Hashem commands that we allow him to enjoy his wedding and his holiday. Even if someone has done wrong and continues to do wrong, we must continue to love and care for them.

The weeks between Pesach and Shavuot are a time of morning for the tragedy caused by lack of mutual respect. Strife caused the current exile. Let us learn from this week’s portions to treat each other with unconditional love and respect and we will merit the speedy coming of Moshiach.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Biggs

Dedicated in the memory of all of Israel’s fallen soldiers. May ashem comfort and strengthen their families and may they merit tremendous blessings in Gan Eden. May we speedily merit the coming of Moshiach when we can live freely and peacefully in our land that Hashem has granted us.

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