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Moses appointed twelve emissaries to scout out the Holy Land and return with a report. The representative for the tribe of Ephraim was Moses’ primary disciple, Joshua. Until this time, the lad’s name was Oshua. But Moses added a letter to his name and called him Joshua.
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Home » Metzora, Tazria

Tazria Mitzora: Treating the Cause

Submitted by on April 2, 2006 – 8:36 pmNo Comment | 2,716 views

Signs of Leprosy

Our Parsha elaborates upon the laws of “Tzaraa’s: a dermatological condition.” Why is this particular skin condition so central to Torah law? The Midrash teaches that sometimes man’s physical afflictions are consequences of his actions and that leprosy is a sign of slander.

Home Garment and Skin

Leprosy can appear on skin, garments, or even on the walls of our homes. The Midrash teaches that leprosy on the wall is the first sign of sin. If we ignore this sign and continue to sin the leprosy spreads to our clothing. If we continue to ignore the sign, the leprosy will soon appear as a dermatological condition.

A Matter of Choice

Close scrutiny of the Parsha will yield an interesting point. In discussion of leprosy on the house walls the Torah says “He will come to the Kohen”. In discussion of dermatological leprosy the Torah says “He will be brought to the Kohen”. The implication is that when spiritual malaise is neglected and allowed to fester we soon accustom ourselves to it and become oblivious. This is why the patients don’t come to the Kohen of their own volition, they must be brought by caring friends.
When leprosy appears a Jew seeks out the priest, God's Space innerstreamnot the dermatologist. Indeed dermatologists are trained to access G-d’s physical healing powers and cure the skin condition. They may heal the symptoms, but are incapable of treating the cause. The Kohen will advise and guide in the ways of Torah. This treats the cause, which automatically heals the affect.

Point of Reflection

Today we don’t practice the laws of leprosy due to the lack of the Temple rituals and priesthood. While the symptoms of leprosy are no longer common, its cause is all too prevalent. To encourage a friend to refrain from slanderous talk, or to accept such advice from our own friends, is a delicate task. Yet, the goal is worthy, the cause is crucial and we must not neglect it.

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