Parshas Tazria – Modern Tzaraas { J, T & E }

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A Modern Day Tzaraas

Parashas Tazria {Jay} – (w/ T’s Torah Tidbits and E’s Insights below)

In every other portion – I have tried to relate or link what is written with what is either going on now or at least a modern interpretation and lesson that I can take away – but for some reason not this week.
Maybe that is the point – what is the modern day equivalent of this skin, hair, clothing and other material affliction. Was this only relevant when the shechinah was with the children of Israel, did this continue when they entered the land of Israel, what about during the first and second temples.
We read about how it is caused, what the identification process is and who, specifically is qualified to diagnose, so to speak and of course what the remedy is. But is it not true that all those reasons are still apparent today – yet do we still have cases of tzaraas and no not the misinterpretation of leprosy. When in fact was the last reported case?
I have read a number of very interesting interpretations of what is actually means, signifies and parallels too – but before I am even able to delve further into these – I am still stuck at the gates, and I am asking for help and guidance.
It seems to me that the sins mentioned in the commentaries are as prevalent as at any other time – so why is there no physical manifestation or Devine retribution and what if anything do we read into this about our generation. Have we sunk so low and so far from our source that there is no point even looking to punish people in this way.
The last section of the last sentence of the portion – This is the law … to declare it pure or to declare it contaminated.
The commentators explain that this is to juxtapose Torah with tzaraas – if someone has earned the punishment of tzaraas, he should occupy himself with Torah. The person who studies Torah absorbs the potential for purity but the one who neglects it opens the door to impurity.
I know that there are great people in this generation who are learned Torah scholars – has our generation not earned the rite to have tzaraas and what it is that we need to be doing – to qualify
All comments welcomed please. Thank you and Shabbat Shalom – J

T’s Torah Tidbits:
Tzaaras is a physical affliction that comes about due to the spiritual impurity of the soul. It is caused by Loshon Hara (evil speech). Why does a person becomes afflicted physically due to that which he did verbally (read: spiritually). Does that really seem fair?
When Miriam talks to her brother Aharon about Moshe (in relation to how he separated from his wife), she is afflicted and has to stay outside the camp for a whole week. But she was only trying to help Moshe, doesn’t sister know best?
 Even the best intentions have an underlying evil thread. Loshon hora, even when true, is still considered loshon hora. Speech itself causes destruction. By speaking ill of another person, you are by nature corrupting that person, your own soul, and the listener’s. Your own character is blemished within your body itself.
This can be why an action, seemingly non-physical in its inception—–“But they are just words!” —-has a physical manifestation. You physically damage your soul, and as a consequence, your body physically becomes damaged: Middah k’negged middah (measure for measure). You hurt another, which inherently causes you to you hurt yourself. Therefore, your soul shows the blemish through the body in its physical form.
 The Jewish Press (I think): A man once came to a Rabbi asking how he can take back the words of loshon hora he said, in order to repent. The Rabbi told him to go up to a mountain with a bag full of feathers. At the top of the mountain, he told him to empty the feathers, and unleash them into the world, allowing them to go about flying in the town. He then instructed the man to go collect each feather throughout the town. “But that’s impossible!” exclaimed the man. “They could be anywhere!” The rabbi responded, “That is exactly what you did through loshon hora. It is impossible to take back the words you spoke, and it is impossible to undo the damage you cause by speaking loshon hora.” Better to watch your words before they spew forth, than trying to clean up the devastation, destruction, and damage in the aftermath.
E’s Insights:
The problem of a lack of Tzaraas may stem from the inability to properly interpret it, as Jay suggested. However, the leaders can only be as great as the nation they are leading. Even though the Jewish Nation sinned at Har Sinai, they were on such a high level to have been able to have even had a Moshe Rabbeinu! Now-a-days, our levels have sunk terribly. However, we must learn from the Tzaraas affliction what is relevant today. 
The affliction was ONLY brought as a “wake-up” call. Hashem wants us to know that we have headed in the wrong direction and our ship needs to be re-coursed. A Kohen was able to tell them back in the day what it meant and millions of prophets walked the earth as well. Tzaraas is miraculous in nature. When people are on a level worthy of being shown miracles, they get them! We are no where near it. Does that mean we do not get messages? Absolutely not! Hashem loves us just the same and He wants us to know just as clearly. We do not get Tzaraas, but we are ALWAYS shown the messages. At first the hint starts out very distant (because He cares soo much!). It may be something you read about in a paper or see flash upon a screen. But when people do not understand that EVERYTHING IN LIFE that is brought in their 5 sense scope is from Hashem, He brings it must closer to home and hits bigger and harder. We should all reflect on our occurrences and answer back to Hashem, as He calls to us at every moment.

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