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INSIGHT: Love to be Low

A Clean Bill of Health

A Clean Bill of Health

In last week’s Parsha, we learned that if a person spoke Lashon HaRa, he might first notice spots on his clothes, and then he might get spots on his skin. If a Kohen examined him and determined that he had Tsara’as, the Metsora would have to leave the 3 camps of Bnei Yisrael and sit alone – all by himself. By spending time alone and thinking about what he had done wrong, the Metsora would hopefully repent – do Teshuvah. Then, just like the Tsara’as appeared miraculously, so it would disappear.

If the Metsora noticed that his spots indeed disappeared, he would call the Kohen to come and examine him. If he passed the examination, the Kohen would say to him, “It looks like you’re Tsara’as-free.”

“Great! Does that mean that I can go back home? Back to normal?”

“Not yet,” the Kohen would explain. “First comes a very intense process.”

The Kohen would patiently explain to him all the details. It was quite complicated, and the Torah describes it at length.

To make a long story short, this process included two birds, spring water, a cedar stick, a hyssop plant, and a strip of scarlet wool.

The Kohen would also instruct him to dip his clothes in a special pool of water called a Mikvah. Then he had to shave all the hair off his body! After that came the big dip – when he himself would immerse into the Mikvah.

But that was still not enough! The Kohen would give him a list of all the Korbanos he would need to bring and explain to him on which days to bring them.

Finally, the ex-Metsora could return to his family and friends. Imagine how happy and grateful he would be to be part of the community again! After what he had been through, he would (hopefully) never be careless with his words again.

Shazak insight

Love to be Low

This purification process for the Metsora may seem strange, but with the help of Rashi, we can see how each step represents the positive changes the Metsora has made within himself.

Here are some examples:

Part of the purification process included setting a bird free to fly away into the clear blue sky.

Now we all know that birds are really noisy. From morning to night they don’t seem to stop chattering. The Metsora was the same way, always talking, sometimes saying things he shouldn’t have. Sending the bird away represented the Metsora’s commitment to stop talking about others.

The process also involved a branch of a cedar tree (called Erez in Hebrew), a sprig of hyssop (Ayzov in Hebrew), and a string that was dyed red with special juices that came from a worm (called Tola’as).

Cedar trees grow really big, sometimes as tall as 130 feet into the air. The hyssop, on the other hand, is a very low bush. The worm, of course, was also very low – like a worm!

The lesson for the Metsora here is clear – stop acting so tall and proud like a cedar. Instead be humble just like the hyssop and the worm.


Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Geared for Kids... Great for Adults!

Did you know learning Torah could be this much fun?
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