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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.
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.
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.
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.
Project of Chabad of Great Neck
400 East Shore Rd. Great Neck
516 4874554 fax 516 4874807
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