Sunday, April 10, 2016

Parshat Tazria, 7th Portion, Leviticus 13:55–59, April 9, 2016

I like the idea that you can’t have a mirror in the foyer of a synagogue because the focus should be on God. The entire pure/impure or clean/unclean (depending on the translation) is really about eligible/ineligible for temple work. When we go to the temple, we shouldn’t be thinking about ourselves, but rather about God. When we show our skin ailments to the priest, we see if we are ready for God.

After finished the requirements for examining the affections of the skin, the priest moves to examine our clothes. Ignoring our insides (which really what this is all about), we learn that everything we bring to the temple needs to be clean. Elsewhere we read about tzara-at on the walls of our house, so what are the walls ineligible for doing? I read that sometimes the stones on which the house is built sometimes need to be burned.

This may not be about medicine, but it is about how deep our digressions go, or, better said, how much we affect our external world. The saying, “No man is an island,” suggests that we have a wide range of influence on our environment.

When we give advice, we sometimes “couch” the criticism so it will be easier to take. I think that is the case here. It only speaks of our external imperfections, but we all know that it is the internal that most often affects the outside.

Not only does the priest fully examine the individual and their clothes, but a process is created to set the person back into the camp/community as soon as possible. Compassion guides the process—compassion to uphold the Torah, to protect the community and the individual, and to enhance the spiritual growth of all involved.

“This is the law of a lesion of tzara’ath on a woolen or linen garment, warp or woof threads, or any leather article, to render it clean or unclean.” (Leviticus 12:59)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting. One cannot study the Torah alone.