Tazria-Metzora

I decided to re-blog this after listening to a Pardes podcast on this Parshah today. It is astounding to me how timely, frightening and close to home this feels now. I can bet not too many of us would read this and think ‘wow, this concerns me a lot” last year or a year before. Today, as usually happens in hard times, we see the best and the worst in people. I can only wish we would heed the advice of our Sages. Here’s an abstract from RAMBAM (courtesy of R. Michael Hattin from Pardes):

Rambam (12th century, Egypt) – Laws of Tum’at Tzara’at, 16:10:
“Tzara’at is a general term that includes many distinct conditions that differ one from the other. A whitening of human skin is called ‘tzara’at,’ a loss of some scalp or beard hair may be ‘tzara’at,’ and a discoloration of garments or the house is ‘tzara’at.’ This condition that afflicts garments or houses to which the Torah refers by this term is not a natural occurrence but rather a miraculous sign that would transpire in ancient Israel in order TO DISSUADE THEM FROM ENGAGING IN EVIL TALK (lashon hara). Thus, if one engaged in disparaging speech, then the walls of his house would become discolored. If he repented, then the walls would recover, but if he persisted, then…the garments upon him would be afflicted… if he persisted, then his very skin would be stricken and he would be publicly SEPARATED AND ISOLATED so that he would be unable to engage in the chatter of the wicked,
namely foolish words and evil speech. Concerning this very thing, the Torah warned when it said: ‘Observe diligently the laws of tzara’at…remember what God your Lord did to Miriam on the way as you left the land of Egypt…’ (Bemidbar 24:8-9).

Noshing Across the Nation

This is a hard Parshah for me as, actually, most of the Parashot in Leviticus – Vayikra.

I am going to bring you another commentary from a source that is not that well-known (I think). I subscribe to a newsletter by a Rabbi Ben Zion Spitz, the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay.

He brings an interesting commentary based on Rabbeinu Bechaye: 

The Torah spends several chapters on the ritual treatment of a biblical spiritual malady called “Tzaraat” popularly mistranslated as leprosy. The person who suffered from the Tzaraat, called a “Metzora“, while not a leper, did suffer from an unusual skin condition that was cured in biblical times by exile from the camp and then a ritual purification and sacrifice process.
Most rabbinic commentators explain that the malady of Tzaraat affected primarily those guilty of gossiping. Gossiping was so onerous a crime that God…

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