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Metzora ~ 5774 ~ מצרע
The Torah describes the procedure for a metzora (a person afflicted with tzara’at – biblical leprosy) upon conclusion of his isolation. This process extends for a week and involves ritual sacrifices and immersions in the mikvah. Only then, a kohen may pronounce the metzora pure. A metzora of limited financial means may substitute lesser offerings for the more expensive animals.
Before a Kohen diagnoses that a house has tzara’at, household possessions are removed to prevent them from also being declared ritually impure.
The tzara’at is removed by smashing and rebuilding that section of the house. If it reappears, the entire building must be razed. The Torah details those bodily secretions that render a person spiritually impure, thereby preventing his contact with holy items, and the Torah defines how one regains a state of ritual purity.
The rituals of purification and sacrifices for women are given here, corresponding to previous sacrifices for other cleansings. Both men and women must abide by the laws of family purity.
MAFTIR Leviticus 15:31-33 ~ page 477
HAFTARAH II Kings 7:3-20~ page 477
King Ben-Hadad of Aram besieged Samaria, the resulting famine reduced many to cannibalism. Elijah the Prophet, assured the king: “At this time tomorrow, a sea of fine flour will sell for merely a shekel, and two seas of barley will sell for a shekel in the gate of Samaria.'” One of the king’s officers mocked Elijah. Elijah responded, “Behold, you will see with your own eyes, but you shall not eat there from.” Four lepers in quarantine were so hungry that they decided to enter the enemy camp to beg for food. They arrived to find a deserted camp. For “G-d had caused the Aramean camp to hear the sound of chariots and the sound of horses, the sound of a great army…” The entire enemy army fled, leaving behind their tents, horses, donkeys and provisions. The four men went to the city and reported their findings to the gatekeepers who, in turn, informed King Jehoram. The king sent messengers who confirmed the miracle. The people swarmed out of the city and looted the enemy camp, thus breaking the famine and fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy. The antagonistic officer that was placed in charge of the city gates was trampled to death by the rampaging crowds — but only after seeing the fulfillment of the prophet’s words.
Parashah & Passover Study Questions
1. Why doesn’t Baking Soda need Passover supervision but Baking Powder does?
2. Why do some rabbis permit perfumes (colognes) with “denatured” ethyl alcohol and others do not?
3. Why do so many consider “Play-Doh” out-right chametz?
4. Why don’t cosmetics or medicines without flavors require Passover supervision but with flavors do (i.e.: we cannot use cherry chapstick)?
5. At the Seder, what foods cannot be cooked and what foods must be cooked?