Parshat Metzora 5776: Tzaraas of a House or, Of an Am?

Shalom Friends;

This week, our Parshat HaShevua, Parshat Metzora is being sponsored by Dr. Dov and Debbie Rosen and family of Ramat Beit Shemesh of the Bar Mitzvah of their son Eli . To the Rosen family, many thanks for your sponsorship and for your continued kindnesses.

You can celebrate a Simcha — a birth, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a Chassuna or other Simcha event in your life, or commemorate a Yahrtzeit of a loved one, or for whatever other reason by sponsoring a Parshat HaShevua.

Please forward to your relatives and friends and encourage them to sponsor a Parshat HaShevua. And please be in contact with me with any questions, or for further details.

Best Regards,

Moshe Burt
skype: mark.burt3

Parshat Metzora 5776: Tzaraas of a House or, Of an Am?

by Moshe Burt

In most years, our Parsha Metzora is normally the twilight side of a Torah doubleheader parsha. But this is one of those Adar Bet years where these two inter-related Parshiyot each stand on their own.

To quickly review, the term “metzora” as expressed by R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, in the new Hirsch Chumash (published by Feldheim in 2005 and translated to English by Daniel Haberman):

Metzora, … Motziya rah [transliteration of the 2 words which form Metzora], a slander.

We learned last week in Parshat Tazria that unity, between individual Jews, as well as on a national level, was role of the Kohen (Priest), whose very essence and “inherent trait throughout the generations” has been unity. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin in “Growth Through Torah”, page 253 citing the Rabbi of Alexander)

Bearing in mind this inherent trait which, l’chatchila, permeates the Kohen, our Parsha opens with two seemingly contradictory instructions given by Hashem to Moshe (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posukim 2-3):

“This shall be the law of the metzora on the day of his purification; He shall be brought to the Kohen. The Kohen shall go forth to the outside of the camp; the Kohen shall look, and behold! — the tzaraas affliction had been healed from the metzora.”

Basically, in posuk 2, we are informed that upon the metzora’s teshuvah, i.e. “…the change [which] takes place within his mind and heart” (Artscroll Stone Chumash commentary citing R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l on Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posuk 2) during his solitary dwelling outside the camp, that “…Hashem Who afflicted him will remove the mark [the nega’im — the affliction] of his degradation and he can begin the process of return.” (ibid)

While the metzora is seemingly healed, the Kohen has the final call as to whether the afflicted has healed, has indeed purified himself. Only once the metzora is deemed as purified, can he re-enter the camp.

Later in our Parshat, we learn:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe and Aaron, saying: When you arrive in the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I will place a tzaraas affliction upon a house in the land of your possession: the one to whom the house belongs shall come and declare tio the Kohen, saying: Something like an affliction has appeared to me in the house.” (As rendered in the Artscroll Stone Edition Chumash, Sefer Vayikra, Perek 14, posukim 33-35)

Torah then lists the steps which the Kohen takes; to clear the house of furniture and belongings, lest they become contaminated, to ascertain the extent of the affliction, to have the afflicted stones removed if applicable and the mortar scraped and removed from the affected house and the replacement of any contaminated stones and the mortar so as to hopefully eradicate the affliction.

But what if the entire Am Yisrael suffers as a result of afflictions within segments of various sectors? What if an entire governance is so afflicted by virtue of equivocal actions taken against murderous enemy terror, or military protocols against terrorists which put Jewish lives at risk? What if the affliction is the result of sinat chinom, causeless hatred of governance or between segments of various sectors: i.e. against lovers of Eretz Yisrael who are systematically framed, “administratively detained”, tortured physically and mentally during police interrogations, etc., or possibly the result of a misguided understanding, for lack of a better word, of certain Halachot regarding interpersonal relations?

What does this author mean by the latter statement above: “possibly the result of a misguided understanding, for lack of a better word, of certain Halachot regarding interpersonal relations”? During the current period of rampant terrorist attacks; stabbings, shootings, drive-by shootings or stonings all over Israel, a Beit Knesset, Beit Medrash began commemorating the murdered victims of terror with a poster placed at the inner entrance to the Shul containing the names and pictures of both the male and female murder victims and meant to keep the kehillah focused, attentive and caring as to the current situation. One day, shortly before Purim, the poster mysteriously disappeared. When the poster was discovered as missing, the Rabbi, the Gabbai and the individual who took on the poster project all were at a loss as to its disappearance. Fortunately, a copy of the poster has since been restored to its normal visible position.

But why would someone take it upon one’s self, without receiving the proper permissions, to remove this poster or, for that matter, anything posted in the shul for the notice of its members? Was this action — the removal of the poster perhaps symptomatic of a wider malaise needing immediate, serious, consistent, unified Rabbinic attention?

In our times, as we learn these two related Parshiyot; Tazria and Metzora, we lack our Beit Hamikdash, our Kohen Godol and the entire Metzora process as a means of teshuva for one, or those suffering a degraded spiritual condition. But we do possess the Torah principles regarding our parshiyot and teshuva.

May we, the B’nei Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole — be totally restituted for all that was stolen from them at leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized gunpoint, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard be liberated and truly free — only upon his return home to Israel, and that Sholom Rubashkin, as well as the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of nearly 1 3/4 years ago. May we have the courage and strength to stand up and physically prevent the possibility of Chas V’Challila any future eviction of Jews from their homes and the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Ki Karov Yom Hashem Al’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bimhayrah b’yamainu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!
Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of The Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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