Parshat Metzora 5782: Why the Metzora is Banished From the Camp?

Shalom Friends;

Our Parshat HaShevua Metzora is being sponsored by Dov and Bracha Moses of Ramat Beit Shemesh dedicated Lilui Nishmas for Dov’s Father, Avraham ben Chaim Mordechai, z”l, and also for a refuah shleima for Rachel bat Chaya Perel and Shmuel ben Rivka. To the Moses family, many thanks for your sponsorship and 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 5782: Why the Metzora is Banished From the Camp?

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. It seems interesting that we will soon see this phenomena of Tazria and Metzora, each standing on their own, repeated in 5784.

Torah records:

“Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying: ‘This shall be the law of the metzora on the day of his purification: he shall be brought to the Kohen.'” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 12, posukim 1-2 as rendered to English in the Artscroll Stone Chumash)

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. [One who speaks a slander, i.e. lashon hora]

The Sochaczever Rebbe, Rabbi Shmuel Bornstein, z”l discusses the banishment of the metzora, encorporating citings, in his sefer “Shem Mishmuel,” page 249):

“All the days in which the blight [the affliction of tzora’as] is upon him, he is impure; he shall live alone. Outside the camp shall be his dwelling.” (Sefer Vayikra, Perek 13, posuk 46 as rendered to English in sefer “Shem Mishmuel, ibid)

As a result of speaking lashon hora, the “leper” [the metzora] is banished from Klal Yisrael, living outside the settlement.

Why is the metzora so different [from other sinners] that the Torah says, “He shall live alone. Outside the camp shall be his dwelling?” He caused dissent between man and wife and between friends. Therefore the Torah says, “he shall live alone.” (Shem Mishmuel citing Arachin 16b)

Indeed, the metzora has to live outside the wall of the encampment or city, indicating that he has lost his precious private nature and become an external, superficial person. In fact, the lashon hora he spoke [the negativity about another or others] indicates that he cannot keep things private, but must spew them out, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate. In some way, he has left his… personality [as a Jew] behind, and so he has to live away from other Jews, outside the town.

Then, at some later time, the [heretofore] metzora repents of his sin, and his ailment heals sufficiently to enable him to rejoin society. He must go through a procedure which will re-acclimatize him to living among Klal Yisrael, a private people. He must learn to be a privately focused person once more, His situation is like that of the Kohen at his inauguration ceremony, who must learn to exemplify this holy trait. So, like the Kohen, the metzora also needs to have the blood of rehabilitation offerings [the blood of the asham offering] smeared on his right thumb, right big toe, and right ear. This will indelibly indicate to him that he must leave behind his externally focused life and concentrate on doing his job as a Yisrael instead.

This means that the ideal Kohen and the metzora express opposite character traits: the former is an inwardly looking person, the latter, a superficial, outwardly looking person.

Rabbi Zelig Pliskin cites Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz in his sefer, “Growth Through Torah” on Parshat Metzora (page 260):

Rabbi Yeruchem Levovitz comments… that the Torah is giving us a key insight into what lies behind a person’s speaking against others, A root of the problem is that the person keeps on talking without thinking about what he is saying. Just as birds keep making noises, so too is this person just making a lot of noise. A person needs to think about the goals of what he is about to say. Before speaking, you need to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of what I am about to say? What will it accomplish? What affects will it have?” Once one gets into the habit of asking… these questions, one will always think before speaking. (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin citing Daas Torah: Vayikra, pages 109-110)

The Artscroll Stone Chumash puts things more succinctly in citing R’ Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, z’l (Sefer Vayikra, page 620):

The unique laws of the metzora have established that, despite the fact that his contamination is manifested in a change on his body, it was caused by his degraded spiritual condition.

Being alone outside the camp gives him the opportunity to reflect on his deficiencies and to repent so that he can once more become worthy of becoming part of his nation. As soon as that change takes place within his mind and heart, Hashem Who afflicted him will remove the mark of his degradation and he can begin the process of return [under the guidance of the Kohen].

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 and that the thrice expelled families of Amona be restored to their rebuilt homes, and the oft-destroyed Yeshiva buildings in Yishuv Chomesh be rebuilt at government expense; all due to alt-leftist-agendized, supreme court legalized Yassamnik gunpoint. Baruch Hashem that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard is now free of his parole and restrictions and that he is now in his second year at home in Eretz Yisrael. May Esther Yocheved bat Yechiel Avraham have an aliyah in Shemayim and may her memory and spirit continue to lift Jonathan to at least 120 years. May the MIAs be liberated alive and returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem — as with the return in April, 2019, via Russia, of the remains of Zachariah Baumel, as should the remains of the two chayalim from the Gaza War of seven 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 prevent Chas V’Challila the handing of Jewish land over to anyone, let alone to enemies sworn to Israel’s and Judaism’s destruction and eradication. And may we soon and finally see the total end to the Communist Chinese corona virus pandemic and all like viruses. May we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nei 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.