Friday, April 04, 2014

Mountains and Valleys

By Michael Hirsch

The twin Parashot of Tazriah and Metzorah present us with a broad cross section of afflictions of one's body, clothing and home. While these afflict the physical, they are spiritual in nature; which is why they are diagnosed by a priest, a Kohen, not a doctor. The cause is generally ascribed to libelous talk. This is why the one afflicted with tzara'at (inaccurately defined as leprosy) was sent out of the Israelite camp, a more severe form of isolation than one deemed impure by having come in contact with a dead body. As he/she tried to isolate the object of their libel, so shall they be isolated.
But, as we say, G-D truly works in strange ways. For as depressed as we may be over such occurrences, there can be an unforeseen silver lining. Imagine the funk you would find yourself in, if you were told that your home had to be partially or totally razed due to its walls being afflicted with tzara'at. Yet, there is a very positive reason why this occurred: as cited by Rashi (14:34), Va'Yikrah Rabbah relates that for the forty years during which the Jewish people travelled through the desert, the native tribes in the Land of Canaan, the Amorites, would bury their valuables in the walls of their homes. After the Israelites conquered the land, they occupied those homes.
Imagine the joy, the positive feelings. And then—utter despair! Tzara'at is discovered on a wall of the home, and it must be torn down. Oh, woe is me! Only to be replaced once again by the most upbeat of emotions, when the hidden treasure is exposed.
What a powerful lesson—one must guard their emotions at all times!! Invariably, highs will be followed by lows. And just as invariably, lows will be followed by highs. Following every mountain, there might be a valley, but after the valley there will likely be another mountain.

Shabbat Shalom!
Michoel David ben Dov Ber
4 Adar Bet 5774

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