Sharing Torah Insights

Tazria/Metzora- Taste the Cuisine

Posted on ב׳ באייר ה׳תש״ע (April 16, 2010) | in Metzora, Tazria | by

This shall be the law of the leprous person for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest… (Vayikra 14:2)

A Metzora is one who has contracted tzara’as (on his body in this case), a spiritual affliction with physical symptoms, stemming from various sins one may have committed. A well-known sin leading to tzara’as is lashon hara, speaking ill of others.

The Nesivos Shalom and others ask, why does the Metzora need to be brought to the kohen, priest? Can the afflicted person not come on his own?

He answers (in typical fashion of Chassidus) that the ‘negative forces’ surrounding this person due to his sin hold him back from coming to see the kohen. He is mired in spiritual darkness to the extent that he must remain outside of society for an extended period of time. Hopefully the ‘afflicted’ will contemplate the deeper roots of his sin (perhaps insecurity or anger, in the case of slander) and the desire to repent. Yet, according to the Nesivos Shalom, the person is still not able to go to the kohen on his own; he must be brought by others. Only when he comes in contact with a man of holiness (as the kohen hopefully is) do the negative forces leave him; the roots of his sin removed only when left vulnerable to the positive aura of the priest.

Many commentators point out that the metzora’s title is derived from to words “motze rah”/ “removing the negative”. One understanding of this is that the bad traits which must be extracted from the person. This fits nicely with the above understanding the cleansing process.

The Nesivos Shalom elaborates on his idea, but one thing we can take out of it is the following: sometimes to fully repent, we must come in contact and spend time with those on a greater spiritual level than ourselves. Their influence with hopefully cap off our own personal repentance process. Those too deep in spiritual ailments must be brought back into the ‘camp’.

This is outreach, the Biblical way. Even those who are reluctant to try a more vibrant form of Judaism are and should be encouraged to do so. As the verse states, Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him (Psalms 34:12) If someone you knew cooked a great meal, you would encourage others to taste the cuisine.

Good Shabbos Yaakov

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