23 Apr Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Tazria-M’tzora
This Shabbat we read from the double-portion of Tazria-M’tzora which gives us our annual dose of conversation regarding tzara’at (an ancient skin disease) and all kinds of impurities that might befall people and/or physical objects. What is perhaps surprising is the fact that some of these impurities can be transferred from person to object and vice versa. We might have thought that an affliction of a human being would remain in the domain of human beings and an affliction of a physical object remains in the domain of physical objects but that turns out to not be the case. In truth, our lives today are similar in that we can easily have reactions – both positive and negative – to physical objects. We might find a room aesthetically pleasing which could put us in a good mood while at the same time a particular scent or food could give us an allergic reaction causing severe physical distress and even harm. Ultimately we are subject to our surroundings which make our days both better and worse and usually in a way which is out of our control. What we have learned, what the Israelites also had to learn, is that just as periods of impurity eventually pass, so do times when our surroundings affect us in negative ways. In the meantime, we try to keep breathing and remember that things will get better.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik