METZORA (one being diseased)

Do not slander your neighbor

The unique laws of the metzora have established that, despite the fact that his contamination is manifested in a change on his body, it was caused by his degraded spiritual condition. Being alone outside the camp gives him the opportunity to reflect on his deficiencies and to repent so that he can once more become worthy of becoming part of his nation. As soon as that change takes place within his mind and heart, the same יהוה who afflicted him will remove the mark of his degradation and he can begin the process of return.

Leviticus 14:1 And יהוה spoke to Moses saying, 2 זֹאת This will be the Torah of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He will be brought to the priest: 3 And the priest will go outside of the camp; and the priest examines to see if the sores have healed in the afflicted person. C-MATS

Question: What are seven things that bring on tzara’at?

  1. slander
  2. bloodshed
  3. false oath
  4. incest
  5. pride
  6. robbery
  7. envy

Question: Why is the metzora brought to the Priest? The Priest’s function as a condemner and ostracizer runs contrary to his most basic nature and role. The Priest is commanded by יהוה to “bless His people Israel with love.” A “disciple of Aaron” is one who “loves peace, pursues peace, loves יהוה’s creatures and brings them close to Torah.” But this is precisely the reason that the Torah entrusts to the Priest the task of condemning the metzora. There is nothing more hateful to יהוה than division between His children. The metzora must be ostracized because, through his slander and tale bearing, he is himself a source of discord; nevertheless, the Torah is reluctant to separate him from the community. So it is not enough that the technical experts say that he marked by tzara’at. It is only when the Priest–whose very being shudders at the thought of banishing a member of the community–is convinced that there is no escaping a verdict of tzara’at, that the metzora is separated from his people. And it is only when the one doing the banishing is covered with loving concern for the banished person, that the penalty will yield a positive result–the repentance and rehabilitation of the metzora. There is another lesson here as well: it is not the fact of the tzara’at that renders the metzora impure, but the Priest’s declaration of his impurity. In other words, no matter how terrible a person’s state may be, to speak ill of him is more terrible still. The Priest’s saying that he is impure affects his spiritual state far more profoundly than the actual fact of his tzara’at! Chumash