Healing From Within - תזריע

Friday, 12 April, 2024 - 3:10 pm


Healing From Within 

Of all the forms of ritual impurity discussed in the Torah, the ritual impurity of the Tzaarat {skin discoloration}, is, in some ways, the most severe. The Torah states: 

All the days the lesion is upon him, he shall remain unclean. He is unclean; he shall dwell isolated; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:46)

Rashi clarifies that not only must the Metzora {person afflicted with Tzaraat} be separated from people who are ritually pure, but he must also dwell in complete isolation, separate even from other people who are ritually impure: 

He shall dwell isolated: [meaning] that other ritually impure people shall not abide with him.

Our sages taught that the Tzaarat affliction was a result of Lashin hara {negative speech, gossip}, based on that Rashi continuous to explain why the Metzora must dwell alone:

Our Sages said: "Why is he different from other ritually impure people, that he must remain isolated? Since, with his slander, he caused a separation {a rift} between man and wife or between man and his fellow, he too, shall be separated {from society}".

From a deeper perspective, we can suggest that dwelling in isolation is not merely a consequence of the negative speech, but rather it is an important step to healing the Metzora. The sages identify two causes for the Tzaarat: (1) gossip and (2) arrogance. While they seem to be two unrelated deficiencies, the reality is that they both stem from the same cause: a person's lack of self-esteem and his inability to be in touch with his internal core, which is the source of his own infinite value. When a person does not feel his inherent value, he will constantly need validation and affirmation from others. The person will then be inclined to be haughty and arrogant in order to receive recognition from others and will engage in negative speech in order to tear down those whom he perceives will outshine and outperform him. 

The cure to both gossip and arrogance is for a person to turn inward. Not to outsource their sense of value and make it dependent on recognition from others but rather to find an internal anchor within his own spiritual core. The healing, therefore, is to be alone, to realize that one must rely on one's own self for physical survival, and, just as importantly, for mental and emotional survival, allowing a person to tap into his infinite value stemming from the spark of G-d within each of us, only then can a person reintegrate with family and friends and create healthy lasting relationships. 

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