Metsora: (Infected One) Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33
The Israelites had a strong sense of community. They worked for the good of the community over the good of the individual. I am sure that their situation demanded this more than it does today, the need to rely on each other directly for survival (including wars). It seems they had close ties and knew each other well. Now we are "more advanced" and independent. We can live in close proximity (apartments etc.) and not even know our neighbor. We may not even be thinking of others around us most of the time.
This portion seems timely in that I have been sick over a week. I personally can’t think of a time when I got sick that was not caused by contact with someone or something infected by someone else. I believe there would be much less sickness if we all followed YHVH’s instructions in the torah. I know that sometimes there is nothing we can do about it, but what is important to us today, fellow man or our needs? How much do we think about the risk we pose to others around us when we are sick? I remember during exams in High School being quite sick. I went to one exam, stepped outside just long enough to throw up, then went to my next exam. I heard on the news about the SARS outbreak in Canada, they told the sick people to do voluntary quarantining, people didn’t want to miss work, etc. so they weren’t heeding it. The news said if the situation gets worse, they would require mandatory quarantines.
We as a society have done this to our selves. Some people who are living pay check to pay check can’t afford to take time off so they will go to work, even if they are quite ill. You see, the blessing and curses of YHVH’s instructions are universal, whether or not we acknowledge them, they are in effect.
I know this torah section speaks of skin infection, but I would think the principles should also apply to other illnesses.
My long hard illness has reminded me to stay humble, and to think of my fellow man, that they might not have to suffer from exposure to me.
The ceremony for cleansing the leper in this portion is quite involved. In fact, there is another ceremony in the torah that is similar. That is the ceremony of the anointing of the high priest. Sages have studied this and concluded that if a leper was cleansed (something that doesn’t happen) it would be a sign that the Messiah had come. What did Yahshua tell the lepers to do after He healed them? To present themselves to the priest at the temple to be declared clean as command in the torah. Thus it would also serve as a sign to the priest that the Messiah has come.
Chapter 15 deals with some common sense instructions on dealing with being clean and unclean and some hard to understand ones. My wife gets distraught when we discuss this because it says she is unclean at times just because she is a woman. If we think about the society we live in, we probably are unclean almost constantly. You go to the grocery store and grab a cart, now your unclean. I think part of this is to help us understand of the need to wash and keep clean, also of the filthiness of the land in which we live (Babylon). We should also recognize the need for our Savior to cleanse us. I think a key verse to this chapter is verse 31:
Thus you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they do not die in their uncleanness, when they defile My tabernacle that is among them.
When YHVH’s tabernacle is rebuilt in Jerusalem, let us not forget these instructions.
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