Saturday, April 9, 2016

Parshat Tazria, 6th Portion, Leviticus 13:40-54, April 8, 2016

A dermatologist pointed out the shame one feels when they have a rash. We had a neighbor with such a condition who wouldn't let people see her until she had 1/4 inch of makeup on. So I started thinking that the priest was being compassionate when he would exile people with such rashes. But the Torah has an interesting habit of teasing you with an easy solution, and then pulling the rug out from under you. 

At one point if the rash completely covers the body, the individual is “clean” but if they only have a spot they are ”unclean.” Uniformity is highly prized, as is the red heifer without a spot.
“And the person with tzara'ath, in whom there is the lesion, his garments shall be torn, his head shall be unshorn (hair uncut), he shall cover himself down to his mustache and call out, "Unclean! Unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45)
What do we do with this? Sounds a little like wearing a scarlet letter, doesn't it? The covering himself down to his mustache is like a mourner. What is he mourning? Is this done so everyone will stay away from him? Is he foregoing his own shame and embarrassment to save others?
“All the days the lesion is upon him, he shall remain unclean. He is unclean; he shall dwell isolated; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”  (Leviticus 13:46)
I understand that some who are removed from the camp congregate, but with this lesion, he shall be isolated. Is it because the act that he did to get the lesion was so bad that the priest was afraid he would further infect the already exiled?

P.S. I made the claim today (and probably many times before) that religions are very much the same. It is one of those arguments where you can take either side and make a good case. Boys and girls are very similar compared to elephants and ants. And they are very different compared to two boys. My goal is that we don't think we are right or special. I like the statement, “there are many ways of skinning a cat.” Parallels abound. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. One cannot study the Torah alone.