Last week in Parasha Tazria, God gave the laws pertaining to ritual purity and tuma or impurity for childbirth. It also identified tzara’at, skin afflictions that caused a person to be ritually impure.
This week, Parasha Metzora continues with the theme of Tazria. In it, God gives Moses the law for the recovered metzora (commonly mistranslated as leper) and the ritual purification of the metzora by the kohen. If the kohen determined that the metzora had healed, he or she underwent a process of ritual cleansing that began with the offering of two birds, one which was sacrificed and the other which was set free. Then the healed metzora washed his clothes, shaved his body, and entered the mikvah (ritual bath) before being allowed back into the camp. Though he could enter the general camp, for seven days he had to remain outside his home. On the eighth day (eight being a number that symbolizes new beginnings), the healed person brought a grain and a guilt offering (minchah and asham).
As part of the cleansing ceremony, the kohen would put some of the blood of the offering on the tip of the right ear of the person to be cleansed, and on the thumb of the right hand and on the big toe of the right foot (Leviticus 14:14). This represents cleansing of the total person from everything we hear, everything we do, and every path we take.
For those serious about remaining in the community as whole, healed people, it also represents a determination to remain holy by being careful about what one hears, deliberate in what one does, and mindful of where one goes.
All those who want to serve the Elohim should make sure that they are clean, not only from the outside, but also from the inside.
These days of Spring cleaning we should also make sure that our inner being is cleansed from all the potentially polluting spots or contaminated thoughts. Together we should dare to talk about things that went wrong in the previous year and how we can avoid such wrong goings.
We sometimes can find ourselves in environments that are toxic. When that environment resists the cure, and nothing we do can cleanse the situation so that it becomes beneficial to human life, health, and growth, we must move from this situation and start over, despite the heavy cost and losses involved.
When we are aware of not acceptable situations by members of our community, now is the time to talk about it and to find solutions to make everything in line with the mitzvot again.
In a few hours time we enter the Great Sabbath or Shabbat HaGadol, a time we set ourselves apart especially for the Hashem Jehovah, giving a sign to all around us that we have chosen to follow the sent one from God to have ourselves purified by our mikvah or baptism in Jesus’ Name, which is seen to symbolize spiritual rebirth, a purification to come in front of the Most High as His children.
Let us not forget that unless one is born of water and the Spirit, we cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:5)
As we should have ourselves prepared to immerse ourselves in the water for baptism, we too have to prepare ourselves now for the coming remembrance of going through the barrier of water which God had put up for letting His people go into the liberty from the slavery.