Rabbi Steven Pik-Nathan for Jewish Reconstructionist Communities
Finding Healing in Separation
This week's parashah is Metzora. In this parashah we continue the laws concerning the person with tzara'at (skin afflictions) that began last week. We were informed in the last parashah, Tazria, that the person suffering from skin afflictions (commonly translated as leprosy) is to be kept separated from the camp until the priest has determined that s/he is healed. The person is considered ritually impure and in danger of contaminating the camp both physically and spiritually. The Torah does not distinguish physical illness as separate from the religious realm. Tzara'at is viewed as a punishment from God for sin and so the priest, as the person in charge of the religious realm, must oversee the person's isolation and reintegration into society.
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