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Healing -- CHRONICLE Online/The WORD 04/11/24

Weekly On-line Rabbi's D'var-Torah


April 11, 2024

3 Nisan 5784

Parashat Tazria

Just a couple of months ago, I sent out emails to our fourth grade families with the date of their child’s B mitzvah in three years. Inevitably, I get the same question from at least one of the families with a spring date: Is this the Torah portion that talks about bodily fluids and skin diseases? The Torah portion that causes such fear and anxiety in parents is—of course!—this week’s Torah portion, Tazria, which is often combined with next week’s portion Metzora.

Many parents want to avoid having their children give a speech about these “icky” subjects. And if there’s another available date, we’re happy to make a switch. However, the truth is that there is nothing to be afraid of. This week’s Torah portion is not really about diseases or bodily fluids. It’s about healing.

Now, we may go about healing in a completely different manner from how our ancestors in the Bible did, but the truth is that the topic of healing is never obsolete or irrelevant. It’s a part of all of our lives—whether it is physical healing from sickness or injury, or emotional healing from a trying experience—we all want and need healing. We were still in the process of healing from COVID when we were hit with upsurge in antisemitism. We were still in the process of healing from that when October 7 happened.  

Even our heated political discussions are ultimately about healing—healing from hard economic times, healing from pandemics, healing from wars, healing from the impact of criminal activity, or healing from the destructive language that has become the standard in politics.

For a very long time, our tradition has believed that bringing healing to those most in need is a distinctly sacred act—possibly the most sacred act.

We can do this in so many ways—visiting someone who ailing, calling someone who is lonely, making a shivah call, buying flowers for someone who is feeling down, having a drink with a friend, and MORE! But sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives and our own challenges that we don’t take the time to think about the impact we could be having on others.

In this week’s Torah portion and next week’s, the priests—who had the highest social status in Israelite society—had to literally go to the outskirts of the camp in order to evaluate someone with a skin disease that put them at the bottom of the social order. I imagine that it was risky and it was scary. I am quite certain that the priests did not always look forward to this aspect of their jobs. But they did it. They modeled for the rest of us that we must set aside petty concerns when given the opportunity to bring healing into the world.

After all, what could be more important than bringing healing?



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