Tzaria (She Conceives) Metzora (One Being Diseased)
As we enter a new Hebrew month still under the grips of a mighty pandemic, we celebrate a Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh together.
Incredibly, nothing could be more relevant than the double portion of Tazria and Metzora which we read this Shabbat together with the special reading and special Haftorah for Rosh Chodesh (the new Hebrew month of Iyar). This double portion is probably the least favorite and often thought to be the least relevant in our entire scripture, and yet this year it rises to the top of the pile! In the Torah reading, we read about the diagnosing of epidemics (in this case, leprosy, a skin disease which apparently struck often as the Hebrew nation traveled in the wilderness), their treatment, isolation of the afflicted, and their re-entry into the community upon healing. Sound familiar?
In those early days, the priests (kohanim) served as the physicians and the epidemiologists. The sufferers were made to isolate themselves away from the main body of the population until their "impurities" had disappeared for a certain amount of time. In this case seven days; in our time fourteen days of quarantine after being exposed to or recovered from the COVID-19 virus. So this year, just as we experienced our Passover Seders in a much more personal way, so do we read Tazria and Metzora almost as if we too are experiencing a phenomena of biblical proportions.
I am happy to report that I have now contacted nearly every one of you and that you are all staying safe and healthy within the new limits that we are experiencing. Just as those who suffered from disease in biblical times had a path to recovery, we all do as well. In the meantime, it is critical for us to stay connected with each other and with our families, neighbors, and friends and make certain that they too are safe, have food and other necessities, and are not suffering from the pain of isolation and loneliness.
Please tune into our service tonight at 7:30 pm where we will have a chance to daven (pray) the Shabbat evening service and reflect on how we will recover and ultimately understand how we can become better and stronger as a result of this experience. If you need a copy of the Likrat Shabbat siddur to help follow along with the service, or a copy of the Chumash (bible) so that you can read the text and commentary for this week's portion, please let me know and I will make sure you get them. Meanwhile, I'll "see" you tonight at
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