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Tazria-metzora

"This shall be the law of the afflicted on the day of his purification: he shall be brought to the cohen" Leviticus 14:2

    I was turned away from the hospital the other day on a visit to one of my congregants. Winter-virus had contaminated the ward and non-essential visitors were asked to leave. Sickness can be lonely. Before modernity, illness had purpose. It could cleanse one from sin, sign-post a fault in the soul, lead to a higher spiritual plane. The Talmud relates that when Rabbi Yochanan enters to heal his student, Rabbi Hiyya, he begins with the question: "Are your afflictions beloved to you?" (Berachot 5b).
    Imagine going to visit your GP with the flu, and being asked, "Are you enjoying that fever?" Modernity has rendered illness as a malfunction in the body-machine, devoid of intrinsic purpose. Thus, a rabbi can be turned away at the hospital because his visit is "non-essential".

    In this week's double-sedarot, we focus on the sickness and healing of tzara'at, a malignant skin disease. The patient must live outside the camp of Israel until the skin heals, and then a beautiful moment ensues. "This shall be the law of the afflicted on the day of his purification: he shall be brought to the cohen. The cohen shall go to him outside of the camp" (Leviticus 14:2-3).

    But this moment cannot really be the "day of purification" because it will take the patient another week to achieve purity. Ramban transforms the text with a single word: this is the day that he wants to become pure. In that moment, everyone springs into motion; the community is waiting to bring him to the camp's edge, the cohen rushes out to meet him there, healing begins. This is a different kind of healthcare: patient-centred, communal, deeply responsive. Perhaps when rabbis, priests and imams are considered essential visitors, a patient's voice will be as closely monitored as his heartbeat.

Sidrah

Lech Lecha

Rabbi Daniella Kolodny

Lech Lecha
Sidrah

Chol Hamo'ed

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Chol Hamo'ed
Sidrah

Nitzavim

Rabbi Larry Tabick

Nitzavim
Sidrah

Noach

Rabbi Dr Benjamin Elton

Noach
Sidrah

Ha'azinu

Rabbi Daniel Roselaar

Ha'azinu
Sidrah

Ki Tavo

Maureen Kendler

Ki Tavo
Sidrah

Bereshit

Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Bereshit
Sidrah

Vayelech

Dr Lynndy Levin

Vayelech
Sidrah

Ki Tetzei

Rabbi Mark Solomon

Ki Tetzei