Parashat Metzora

This week, the story of this strange disease, which attacked the skin, clothing and the walls of houses, continues.

I want to focus in this case, attention, on the cure of evil, beyond the disease. The story tells us that upon entering Canaan, the promised land, and upon conquering and occupying the houses of the place, it could be that this disease would reappear in the things and walls of the conquered. Another way of seeing the Tzaraat, that strange leprosy that was contracted by slander. It seems that also the paganism of the ancient inhabitants or their opposition to the almighty God were reasons for contagion of this disease in their possessions.

A different interpretation teaches us that the inhabitants of Canaan hid treasures in their walls, and that these treasures probably caused stains on them. Therefore, the "treatment" of the walls would consist of extracting these treasures. But let us not ourselves make Lashon hara, slander, with our ancestors.

We know that the Metzora came from the Motzi shem ra, the one who brought out the bad name of their neighbor; what the slanderer did, was, in some way, invade the intimacy of the other's life to harm them.

In the conquest of the promised land, something similar happened. What the people of Israel were doing, even if it was by order of God, was precisely invading the privacy of others. Not with slander, in this case, but with the concrete conquest of goods.

We consider the stains on the conquered walls either as a remnant of existing paganism prior to the conquest or as a result of the irruption of the people of Israel into what is foreign. Both cases consider the discomfort caused by a bad action. In both cases, a spiritual cure was needed.

It was not a medical cure. This condition was not caused by a virus or a bacterium, but by the predisposition of the slanderer (or the invader). In any case, it was a bad attitude that started on the person. So the cure had to start from that point. It was needed to find out how the spirituality of the one who had provoked it was changed to achieve change in his own body and in the habitat.

The patient had to dig into his lack of faith in God, into his disagreement with his own possessions and reconsider having invaded the space of the other – both in the material and in the words level.

It is not easy to match the soul with the body. It is not always easy to make our intentions pure and align them with our actions. It is not always easy for us to give up our desires and not invade the spaces and possessions of others. It is our attitudes and, above all, the example that we show around us, that make it possible for our environment to flow with purity or get stuck in surroundings with stains. And in our work as a community, as each one's extended family, this subject becomes even more delicate.

May this Shabbat allow us to rethink our objectives, our visions and respect for our spaces and those around us, so that our walls are firm and pure, so that individual and community objectives are carried out in a simpler and bearable way.


Gustavo Geier