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Speaking Purity
The Role of Speech
In Metzora's Purification Rituals

The Metzora can become purified. The essence of Parshat Metzora lies in the laws of the Metzora on the day of his purification. The Torah defines the Metzora as someone isolated from society due to his actions and moral behavior, as the verse states, 'He shall dwell alone; outside the camp.' This isolation starkly contrasts the person's initial state, where they were part of the community. However, this state of isolation is not permanent. The Torah provides a path to redemption and reintegration into society through self-reflection and purification.

After a person sits outside the camp, he takes stock of his soul. And he who takes stock of his soul is again worthy to re-enter society. To re-enter society, he must bring two birds. The Cohen slaughters one bird. The second bird, the live bird, is dipped in the blood of the slaughtered bird and sent away into the open field.
What is this ceremony? It reminds us of what happens in the temple on Yom Kippur. One goat is brought upon the altar. In contrast, another goat is sent away into the open field. When sent away, the goat collapses and dies among the rocks. A similar ceremony exists for the purification of the Metzora. The live bird dipped in the blood of the slaughtered bird, this bird full of blood, is torn apart by other animals.
What is this meant to teach us? On Yom Kippur, we ascribe value to the "stormy" forces, this goat from the word "storm" (Sai'r). And those stormy forces are valued to the point of entering the Holy of Holies. In contrast, part of the stormy forces must be sent away outside, into the open field, to Azazel to die.
We find the same principle regarding a person's power of speech: part of it is holy and impure. What is sacred is worthy of entering the Holy of Holies, and what is impure needs to be "thrown out" into the open field.
As part of a person's preparation to return to human society, he needs to relate to his tent—his private home—as a Holy of Holies, as a sanctuary. He must behave appropriately within this sanctuary and undergo some personal "Yom Kippur."

Final note: The Passover holiday, in Hebrew, is composed of two words: "PehSach." The mouth speaks and also eats, giving life to the person. On the Passover holiday, whether the mouth behaves negatively, is subject to all sorts of inclinations, or is accessible and speaks beneficial things. May it be a holiday full of freedom and light for you and all your household.

More Weekly Portions

Expanding Horizons:
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Parashat Emor highlights the high-volume sanctity of times and places, listing key Jewish festivals connected to the Temple as discussed in Leviticus. It addresses how Moses communicated these to the Children of Israel, and introduces long-tail concepts like the addition of festivals beyond the Torah's scope. The narrative links the Menorah and the Temple to new celebrations such as Hanukkah, and connects the showbread ritual to Purim, indicating evolving traditions that continue to sanctify time through historical and divine revelations.

Unlocking Holiness
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Examining the commandment to be holy, the article delves into its relational aspects, stressing the need for humans to emulate the divine in their interactions. It discusses the significance of loving others, oneself, and the Creator, drawing from Talmudic interpretations to underscore the interconnectedness of these dimensions. By fostering holistic relationships, individuals can fulfill their moral duties and attain a sense of completeness in their moral identities.

From Wilderness to Promised Land
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[Aharei Mot]

In Parshat Achrei Mot, the Torah restricts meat consumption in the wilderness to prevent idolatry. Only kosher animal sacrifices within the Tabernacle were permitted. Unauthorized slaughter was considered a serious transgression, akin to murder. Upon entering the Land of Israel, the Israelites were allowed to consume "meat of desire" anywhere, symbolizing the expanded sacred space of the Tabernacle and Temple.