Friday, April 28, 2017

Loving The Metzora

The Tolna Rebbe Shlita 

Parshiyos Tazria-Metzora appear in Sefer Vayikra among the discussion of the korbanos to teach that the kohen must descend from his lofty, sacred work in the Beis Ha’mikdash to deal with the lowest aspects of the people’s lives, including those of a metzora and zav. Specifically the kohen, who spends his life in the sacred domain of the Beis Ha’mikdash dealing with the korbanos, is the one whom the Torah commands to lower himself and get involved in all matters relating to tzara’as. 

The Torah emphasizes this point buy instructing that when a person has discoloration on his skin, "he shall be brought to Aharon, the kohen, or to one of his sons, the kohanim” (13:2). Rather than simply require the person to come to הכהן”) the kohen”), the Torah requires him to come to Aharon or one of his sons – emphasizing that the greatest kohanim are the ones who must descend from their lofty heights of sanctity to work with this metzora, who has fallen to the lowest depths of impurity. What’s more, while in the beginning of the process the metzora must approach the kohen, at the end, after the metzora is forced to live outside his city, and his infection is then cured, the Torah (14:3) commands,  the kohen must go “outside the camp” to the metzora. The kohen, who normally spends his days engaged in matters of kedusha in the Beis Ha’mikdash, now leaves the camp in order to deal with the needs of a person stricken with the severest form of impurity. The Torah not only requires the kohen to leave the sacred, serene environs of the Mikdash to work with the metzora, but also requires that he do so joyfully. The aforementioned pasuk continues, ”and the kohen sees that behold, the leprous infection on the leper has been cured”. The Pesikta Zutresa, in a different context (Balak 128a), comments that the word והנה connotes joy, as indicated in the pasuk in Sefer Shemos (4:15),  “and behold, he [Aharon] is also going out to greet you, and he will see you and rejoice in his heart”. The kohen is to feel such a level of closeness to the metzora that he experiences genuine joy over the fact that the person’s tzara’as has been cured. The situation of tzara’as is when the kohen’s love for every Jew is manifest. This love does not come to the fore during normal times, when everything goes smoothly and the kohen is together with his fellow kohanim basking in the glory of the Beis Ha’mikdash, but rather when the kohen leaves the Beis Ha’mikdash and goes outside the camp to work with a metzora. This is when his powerful love for each and every Jew is put on full display.

 Although today we do not have metzoraim, we do have many lost souls whom we must all try to bring back. We must show our utmost, genuine love for these individuals, even for those whom we needed to send away so that they would not cause harm to others. Just as the metzora is sent away to isolation, and others must keep a distance from him, and yet the kohen is commanded to love him. Similarly, we must arouse in our hearts genuine love for each and every Jew, even for those who needed to be distanced. The Gemara (Megilla 12b) teaches that HKB”H treats a person the way he treats others, and thus if we show our love even for those Jews who are far and distant, and work to bring them closer, then HKB”H will, in turn, shower us with His love, until the arrival of Mashiach.