Life Skills from the Word of YHWH

 Metzora (Leper)
(Sefer Vayikra) Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33

14:2- “This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the kohain:
3- And the kohain shall go forth out of the camp; and the kohain shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
4- Then shall the kohain command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
5- And the kohain shall command that one bird be killed in an earthen vessel over living water:
6- As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the living water:
7- And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
34- When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
35- And he that owns the house shall come and tell the kohain, saying, It seems to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
36- The kohain shall command that they clear the house before the kohain comes to see the plague, so that all in the house not become unclean: and after that the kohain shall go in to see the house:
38- And the kohain shall leave the house to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days:
39- And the kohain shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
40- Then the kohain shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
44- Then the kohain shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
45- And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.
48- And if the kohain shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague has not spread in the house, after the house was plastered: then the kohain shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
49- And he shall take to cleanse the house, two birds and cedar wood, and scarlet and hyssop:
52- And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the living water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
53- But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.”

“How long shall they utter and speak hard things and all workers of iniquity boast themselves?”
(Psalms 94:4)

“Remember what YHVH thy Elohim did unto Miriam by the way, as ye came forth out of Egypt.”
(Deuteronomy 24:9)

“Moreover YHVH says, Because the daughters of Tzion are haughty and walk with stretched forth
necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet:
Therefore YHVH will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Tzion…”
(Isaiah 3:16-17)

“Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then
shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”
(Psalms 19:13)

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
(Psalms 51:7)

“And it shall be, that as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down, and to throw
down and to destroy and to afflict; so will I watch over them to build and to plant, says YHVH.”
(Jeremiah 31:28)

“In that day, says YHVH, will I assemble her that is lame, and I will gather her that is driven out,
and her that I have afflicted.”
(Micah 4:6)

Metzora Summary:
1. Driven from Glory, Unclean from Haughtiness:

Throughout recorded Biblical history, the sin of pride has been compared and treated akin to the uncleanness of leprosy. When such haughtiness of heart is unleashed, many can suffer its contagious defilement. Pride, initially surfaced in Gan Eden as man entered his unclean state, and arrogance in contradicting the Creator, was accompanied with shame, resulting in exile as Genesis 3:4 and 24 aver:
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die...So he drove out the man...”
The Wisdom of King Shlomo convinces us further in Proverbs 16:18, as it is written:
“Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
Likewise in Proverbs 11:2, a leprous heart will greatly reduce the stature of man to unenvied ignominy:
“When pride comes, then comes shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.”
Indeed, the punishment of uncleanness and banishment from Elohim’s presence has always been rooted in arrogance as we audaciously minimize and then scoff at His words. 2 Chronicles 26:16-19 describes the circumstances as eighty kohanim inspected the state of those living stones in Yisrael, the ones making up the House of HaShem; they found King Uzziyahu haughtily inviting a harsh judgment:
“But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against
YHVH his Elohim and went into the temple of YHVH to burn incense upon the altar of incense.
...And they withstood Uzziyahu the king and said unto him, It appertains not unto thee…but to the
kohanim…that are consecrated…go out of the sanctuary for thou has trespassed …Uzziyahu
was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the
kohanim, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the kohanim in the house of YHVH...”
In Numbers 12:2, a similar decree visited Miriam for challenging Elohim’s Sovereign authority:
“And they said, Has YHVH indeed spoken only by Moshe? Has He not spoken also by us?”
Like a spreading plague, infectious rebellion would not be permitted inside the camp. Personifying the people, the stones in a polluted house would impose the need for purification, including a period of isolation in hope of future restoration. Parallel to Yisrael’s history, such a recurrence of this festering corruption would result in the ultimate and permanent removal from the midst of the community.

2. A Bird of Paradise Soaring Freely back to Eden:
Surrounding the purification process within the camp of the Almighty is a message of redemption, illustrated by use of the two birds for cleansing. Even as the leprous sin of pride punishingly draws our attention to yearn for that once pristine state in Eden, the varying fate of the birds in parasha Metzora soberly informs of atonement’s bloody price. The corrupt inclination of mankind will not inherit the Kingdom. Rather, as birds separated in flight, Ecclesiastes 3:21 divulges our natures’ distinct destinies:
“Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward
to the earth?”
Like our return to the land in “aliyah” (going up) so living bird who has been smeared with the blood of redemption will be welcomed back up into HaShem’s presence, as it is written in Zephaniah 3:19:
“Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that is lame, and gather
her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been
put to shame.”
Compared to the surviving bird which acknowledged the sacrifice of the other, Psalm 124:7 informs us:
“Our soul is escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we escaped.”


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