Thoughts for Shabbat – 24.04.20
Dear Parents and Students,
This week we read two Parashot: Tazria-Metzora – both deal a lot with the laws of purity related to Tzarat (biblical leprosy). One of the stranger passages of our parasha talks about the Tzarat Habayit – an eruptive plague of the house. How can a house have a plague? What is the meaning of a plague of the house? It is also worth noting that this thing can happen only in the land of Israel as it says, “When you enter the land of Canaan that I give you as a possession, and I inflict an eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess” (Leviticus 14, 34).
For many years, I wondered about the meaning of this weird idea of a plague of the house and only in the land of Israel… The way to purify the house in the end includes a long ceremony where the priest takes two birds, one he slaughters and the other he sets free. What is the meaning of all of it?
This coming week we will celebrate Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Memorial Day and Independence Day) in Israel; two powerful and intensive days in the Israeli and Jewish calendar.
I want to offer a small thought that can possibly connect to this strange story of the House Plague with our upcoming week.
Yom Hazikaron is the day on which we commemorate those who gave their lives so Israel could exist. Many houses in Israel are familiar with the horrible knock on the door, with the news that a loved one is gone. This knock on the door is in a way the plague of the house. Only in the Land of Israel, a horrible plague that changes the house and its people forever.
But the story does not end there – the next day we have Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day – the day to celebrate the life of the State of Israel. Like the living bird that is set free while the other is slaughtered.
In Israel, we know that there is no true celebration without remembering the cost. There is no way to purify the house, without remembering and commemorating those who pay the price for it.
This year, when we will all be confined to home due to COVID-19, we should appreciate even more the house that we have here in the Land of Israel – a house for all Jews that we should all work together to purify and make better for future generations.
Director of Education, Aardvark Israel