As the Torah Turns
Rabbi Lader’s Weekly D’var Torah
Tazri’a/Metzorah – Lev. 12:1-13:59/14:1-15:33 (Apr. 16/17)
This week we have a double Torah portion – Tazri’a/Metzorah – Lev. 12:1-13:59/14:1-15:33. Both portions deal with identifying the ritually unclean status of a person, house, and items… and their cleansing, or healing. In the time of our portion, healing was more of an art than a science, but the mandate to heal was as clear then, as it is now. For too many of us, healing from a life-threatening illness (and even living through these pandemic times) has brought us a heightened awareness of the need to not take our good health for granted. The late Rabbi Milton Steinberg wrote:
After a long illness, I was permitted for the first time to step out-of-doors. And as I crossed the threshold, sunlight greeted me… So long as I live, I shall never forget that moment… The sky overhead was very blue, very clear, and very, very high… A faint wind blew from off the western plains, cool and yet somehow tinged with warmth — like a dry, chilled wine. And everywhere in the firmament above me, in the great vault between earth and sky, on the pavements, the buildings — the golden glow of sunlight. It touched me, too, with friendship, with warmth, with blessing. And as I basked in its glory there ran through my mind these wonderful words of the prophet: For you who revere My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing on its wings. (Malachi 3:20)
In that instant I looked about me to see whether anyone else showed on their face the joy, almost the beatitude, I felt. But no, there they walked — men and women and children, in the glory of the golden flood, and so far as I could detect, there was none to give it heed. And then I remembered how often I, too, had been indifferent to the sunlight, how often, preoccupied with petty and sometimes mean concerns, I had disregarded it. And I said to myself: How precious is the sunlight, but alas, how careless of it we are. [From: Day By Day: Reflections on the Themes of the Torah from Literature, Philosophy, and Religious Thought by Chaim Stern, p. 147.]
Rabbi Steinberg’s appreciation for each day and the simple and majestic beauty that surrounds us reminds us to treasure each day. [Here is a beautiful musical setting to these words from Psalm 90:2 – Teach us to treasure each day, that we may open our hearts to Your wisdom.]
From Previous Weeks
Even as we celebrate our redemption from slavery, we have a responsibility to remember the whole story.
Moses learns about the details and procedures of the sacrifices.
The opportunity to create change – or to be change agents – is always before us.
Many of us struggle with the kind of faith/emunah that is described in the biblical narrative.