Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pre-Pesach Panic

It has arrived.

I already have knots in my stomach anticipating Pesach. To be honest, my current source of worry is the Shabbos meals Erev Pesach, i.e. CHALLAH in the house?! Given that the water pressure in our washroom is pitiful to say the least, I know full well that at the method prescribed by the OU ( for disposing of challah would not work as expected in our apartment. And my husband's minhag, G-d bless him, is to not eat egg matzah under such circumstances. If it's Shabbos, he's eating challah. Hence the potential return of my ulcers.

So I will instead distract myself, and divulge an idea that came to me for Parsha Metzora. It occurred to me, as I was reading, that the description of the purification process for the metzora is the same as for a Kohen during the induction ceremony:
  • blood/oil placed on the right earlobe, right thumb, and right toe
  • oil poured over the metzora's head
As we know, oil is likened both to the Jewish people and to Torah. A metzora is someone who contracts tzaaraas due to speaking Lashon Hora. When one speaks Lashon Hora, chasve shalom, he is in effect rejecting all of Torah, since the essence of Torah is to be kind to one's fellow yid. Obviously, speaking Lashon Hora also harms a fellow yid, since the harmed parties include the person who is the subject of the gossip, the listener, and the gossiper himself (the last two are harmed emotionally and spiritually by participating in Lashon Hora).

The Kohen is "reborn" prior to commencing service in the Beit Hamigdash. The induction ceremony removes all traces of impurity and elevates the Kohen to a level of utter purity so that he is fit to serve in the holiest place on Earth, Beit Hashem. This ceremony involves the earlobe, thumb, and toe to remind the Kohen to beware of his thoughts because they inspire his actions. How appropriate then that the metzora, who has been misled by his thoughts to commit a horrible action- the speaking of Lashon Hora- is purified in the same manner so that his thoughts and actions will henceforth be similarly elevated. Moreover, the pouring of a log of oil (a tremendous volume) on the metzora's head underscores that he is having all of the Torah and correct attitude towards the Jewish people that he previously rejected restored to him.

Thus, just as the Kohen is inducted into service after being reborn, so too is the metzora reborn as yid and starts fresh.

May everyone's Pesach preparations go smoothly. I hope to get a few more posts in before the chag, bli neder...

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