The Bizarre Purification Of The Metzora

The Tzaraat Purification Ritual: What Does It Mean?

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman

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In this week's parsha, we are introduced to a strange set of laws related to the metzora, one afflicted with the disease of tzara'at. In the following parsha, the Torah will explain, in great detail, how a person with this disease can become pure. But the purification ritual is bizarre; how can we relate to these bizarre Biblical purification rituals in a modern context? How should we understand what causes a metzora to lose his spiritual purity, and how purification rites help him gain it again?

In this video, Rabbi Fohrman begins to assemble clues, including the midrashic cause of tzara'at, the connection between a corpse and tzara'at, and echoes of this purification process earlier in the Torah. By highlighting these connections, the Biblical purification rituals for Tzara'at take on a whole new meaning, one that is still relevant today.