|Week of April 3, 2011 Shabbat Metzora, Nissan 5, 5771|
This week the Parasha of Metzora מתזורה is read. Usually this Parasha is read as a double portion with Tazria since they both deal with the same spiritual disease. Tazria with the illness and Metzora with the purification.
Also please check out this link about the 13 days of Nissan. See the First Days of Nissan are Unique!
I am presently giving a series of classes explaining the unity of the Holiday of Purim, the first 13 days of Nissan, The Holiday of Pesach, The counting of the Omer, The Holiday of the 7th day of Pesach, The Holidays of Iyar, and the Holiday of Shavuot or Pentecost (The Giving (Revelation) of the Torah). I strongly suggest that you listen to these classes which are on Sunday mornings at 10 AM and can be viewed on video conferencing with prior reservation and by conference call at 213-289-0500 with the code 911904#. You must agree to be recorded by pressing 1 as well.
Here is a link for a cartoon summary of the Parasha. We hope you enjoy it.
Vayikra - Leviticus Chapter 14 Verse 1 to Chapter 15 Verse 33. There are 90 Verses which, by gematria, is the letter Tzadi. The letter Tzadi also is a word that means Tzadik - a righteous person.
The code word is עידו which means "His non-Jewish feast". This is truly an interesting code word. We know that both Jews and non Jews become impure with this disease. This is learned from the reading of the Prophets where a general in the army from the other nations comes to have his "leprosy" cured by Elisha the Prophet. So why do we need this code word to imply a seperation between Jew and non Jew within this reading. It is because the disease also affected houses, but only in the Land of Israel.
There are some interesting midrash that explain why was this disease affecting houses. Essentially, in one explanation, the house was affected to show the "sinners" selfishness. If someone came to him and asked to borrow a hammer or some other tool. He would say I do not have this tool. Then when the house became diseased everything in the house had to be removed and presented to public scrutiny and view. Everyone then learned that this "sinner" had lied about not having the tool in question and the sinner became embarrassed and had to deal with his neighbors differently in the future. This midrash and explanation only applied to the house that became cured by the removing of all the items into public view.
There were some houses that stayed contaminated and these houses had to be destroyed down to the foundation and rebuilt. Where did the money come to rebuild the house? From the house itself. The people who inhabited the Land prior to the coming of the Jews stored their gold and valuables in their homes. This gold and valuables caused the impurity and Hashem wanted his land - the Land of Israel purified. So this destruction of the house caused the money that was buried and hidden in the house to be discovered. This is the money that is used to rebuild the house because the only way to make an impure earthen vessel pure is to destroy it. The midrash teaches that Hashem in his mercy caused the Caanites to put their valuables into their houses and then forget where they put them. Therefore, the Jew did not have to suffer financial loss as he helped cleanse the Land.
The number of words in the Parasha is 1274 ארעד which translates as "shivering one". This clearly relates to the inner essence of the Parasha dealing with a method of learning to "be in awe" of Hashem when one contemplates and changes oneself in order to cleanse himself of this spiritual disease.
Maftir: Exodus Chapter 15 Verses 31 to 33. There are 3 verses and 1 space. We have discussed the meaning of 3 and 1 in prior emails.
Spaces: There are 7 spaces in the Parasha. 7 is the gematria of the letter Zion which is also a code word representing Malchut of Zeir Anpin. It is related to the lowest spirital level prior to our physical world. Zion is the spiritual location/place over Jerusalem where all of the metaphysical energy flows into our world and makes Jerusalem the energy center of the world.
The Haftara is the same for both Sephardim and Ashkenazim Minhagim (customs). 2nd Kings Chapter 7 Verse 3 to Verse 20 which is 18 Verses. There is 1 space in the reading of the Haftara. 18 is the gematria of the word Life (Chai).
Written and Spoken Verses:
There are no words written and spoken differently in the Parasha. And there are 3 Words in the Haftara that are spoken and written differently. The words all relate to the same issue and are in verses 12,13,and 14. In the written form the words, while different, all have an additional Hay at the beginning of the word. An Hay at the beginning of a word makes that noun a definite article noun which means you add "the" to the word when translating it. The Hay is relating to the miracle from Hashem that is being described in the Haftara. The actual words are Aram (one of the 70 nations), City (the word that means city) , and haste (a word that means haste). The added Hays describe the miracle as the Aram left the city in the haste. Here is another example of how the Torah uses the Hebrew language to reveal different issues that can not be done with other languages.
Large or Small Letters: There are no large or small letters in the Haftara or the Parasha.
Columns: All columns start with a Vav. There are 4 full columns and 2 partial columns.
As promised, this year i will give some insights into the Haftarot.
On the physical level the Haftara uses 4 Lepers in the story of the Haftara. This makes it easy to see the physical relationship between the Parasha dealing with Leprosy and the Haftara using Lepers in the story.
The spiritual level is another matter. It only becomes clear at the end of the story. I truly suggests you read the Haftara. This story can be used as a metaphor to understand the spiritual laws and answer the question that many people ask about today. Why are all these natural disasters happening now in our days? Let me explain a little more.
We all know about the earthquake Tsunami in Japan. What do you think happended to the price of food and water in Japan. I don't know as i have not seen a news article about this issue, have you ? I would think that in a capitaliast system the price went up do to the shortage of the item. We all live in areas of the world where natural disasters can happen and unless we change ourselves they will continue to happen. The purpose of a natural disaster is to wake up the people of the world who experience it, weather directly or by news services telling us about it.
This Haftara is telling us about how HaShem shows mercy to his children (us). A miracle occurs in the Haftara by Hashem causing the panic and hasty retreat of the army of Aram who has caused a food shortage in the city of Jerusalem. The Prophet Elisha prophecizes that the price of food will drop radically. A captain in the Kings guard scoffs at the power of Hashem and pays the penalty of his life, so that all of us will have the opportunity to realize the Power of Hashem and allow ourselves to apply this in specific ways to our own lives today. There is no coincidence as to why this is being read this week just prior to the Holiday of Pesach and just after the Japanese earthquake. Do you see the truth involved in this reading and use it to cause you to become amazed and in awe of Hashem? Or do you see coincidence? Are you with the Lepers or the Captain of the guard?
The essence of this Parasha called Metzora is about Yirah (Awe) of Hashem which is necessary for our purification and cleansing.
I have given you different teachings above that all deal with how amazing is Hashem and how he deals with the world. We no longer have Leprosy in the world or do we? Do we have evil speech? Yes! Do we have the Cohenim to clease our skin diseases or other plagues that replace Leprosy? No we do not have the Temple so we do not have knowledgeable Cohanim. Do we have plagues that replace leprosy? Yes, we do. They are called Heart disease, Cancer, Asbestos poisoning in our homes, poisoning of our atmosphere, and many other plagues.
Unfortunately we do not see these as wake up calls from HaShem. We wait till the Scientists tell us that we are poisoning our environment and ourselves. When we can look at each and every event in our world as a wake up call. Then we will be able to avoid these world wide pagues including poisoning the atmosphere.
We do not have to experience directly these natural disasters if we choose to constantly evaluate ourselves. Where are we spiritually? Are we doing our spiritual work? Have we stopped judging other people but constantly judge ourselves in order to move forward in our spiritual work. Then and only then will these natural disasters stop. There are passages in the Zohar that can be read, studied, and scanned that will bring mercy into our world so that more people will wake up and we can then avoid these natural disasters. The portion of Korach for earthquakes is just one of these. Write me to learn about more of them.
What is the procedure for cleansing a Metzora? It has ben explained metaphorically as a method of teaching the previous leper how to avoid the same mistake again. How is this accomplished? By taking two birds one representing his good inclination and one representing his evil inclination. He must slaughter his evil inclination. Then he must remember that he is also a creature of the earth just like the earthware jar that he uses when he slaughters the evil inclination bird. Now the other bird is sent away which is a reminder that the evil inclination has been killed but will come back if he does not change his actions. The Metzora must realize that he must change his ego which strong like cedar into the humble hyssop bush. The cedar and hyssop are part of the ritual of cleansing the Metzora. They are also tools to help the Metzora see things metaphorically.
For those of you who do not realize all of the items specified for the cleansing of the Metzorah were spoken about in the metaphor above.
What happens next? The Metzora must be shaved all over and then finally he must bring a sacrificial animal to indicate that he has sacrificed his animal self. The ARI explains that when someone grows hair in the physical world it also grows in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world the Klipot (negative shells) use the hair to hold onto and create a blockage to the flow of Gods goodness. This is why we must shave all over to open up the blockages that the negative side is using to stop the flow of goodness.
Our sages teach us that study of these sacrifices and rituals replace the actual event. Yes we must say the words. WHY DON"T WE TAKE THIS TEACHING TO HEART AND DO THIS STUDY AS A REPLACEMENT FOR THE TEMPLE. Don't you think it will work? I remind you of the lesson Moshe teaches us about hitting the rock or speaking to the rock to bring water. Water is a metaphor for Hashem's mercy. Speak to the rock, speak to the Metzora and we all can change! Please! This will not come from our Rabbi's. They are caught in the mire of tradition. These rituals worked in our past because people knew they worked. They actually saw them work. They saw people with the disease of leprosy and then that person changed himself and the disease was purified through these rituals.
This is still potentially true. If you believe you will see it happen. If you know it will happen it just manifests in your life. Please understand what i am saying. Some one has cancer and our scientists and medical knowledge does the best it can. Perhaps in addition to this we might try the study of these rituals of Metzora purification as well. You never know you might see it happen in your own life or the life of someone you love. All you have to do is KNOWN IT WILL WORK! Just as our ancestors knew the Metzora rituals worked because they saw it with their own experience. Do you know someone with cancer, or another of the plagues? Are you sitting back and letting your modern idol worship tools (the Doctors and the Scientists) work or are you going to become proactive and study the purification rituals of the Metzora also? Try it you might like a life with less chaos and which becomes disease free!
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Announcement 3: This is a weekly e-letter about the Parasha. Sometimes there will be all of the links - sometimes due to time limitations there will not be be all of the links.
One of the main purposes of the Mitzvah of Hearing the Torah on Shabbat Morning is to receive the Metaphysical Energy we will need during the next week. Please strive to hear the Torah Reading each week for this benefit.
Chanoch Ben Yaacov
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