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When, Not If

Friday, 12 April, 2019 - 8:20 am

Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, the Chassidic giant famous for his indefatigable love for his fellow, was once walking in the marketplace. Seeing someone in an absolute hurry, he inquired what the rush was all about.

“I’m chasing my parnasah (livelihood)!” the man exclaimed.

“Perhaps it’s behind you and you are running away from it?” asked Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. “If it’s meant for you, it will come to you. Stop being so nervous and obsessive and start believing.”

The journey of life can be circuitous. We twist in various directions.

Ultimately, we end up exactly where we were supposed to be. It’s just that sometimes we insist on taking the indirect route.

***

In this week’s parsha Metzora we learn about the purification process of the metzora (someone afflicted with tzaraat).

The Torah states: This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara'at, on the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought to the kohen.

The next verse says: The kohen shall go outside the camp, and the kohen shall look, and behold, the lesion of tzara'at has healed in the afflicted person.

From one verse to the next there seems to be a contradiction. Is the metzora brought to the Kohen or does the Kohen go to the metzora?

***

The metzora is in a state of impurity due to spiritual shortcomings. The Kohen renders the purification ritual to change his/her status to pure. As a matter of fact, the Kohen was required to travel outside of the city limits to visit the metzora. The metzora was not allowed to come to the Kohen.

Therefore, the concept of being brought to the Kohen must also have some spiritual meaning and lesson.

One might think that the metzora’s situation is helpless. Without the intervention of the Kohen the metzora will remain impure forever.

Nevertheless, the Torah foretells and guarantees that “he shall be brought to the Kohen”—even a person as distant as a metzora will ultimately do teshuva, and return to G-d and His ways.

***

We all might have some metzora elements within us. We might be tempted to assume they will never be rectified.

This attitude won’t change the end result. Ultimately, we will all do teshuva. We will all reach our final destination.

The question is only whether we will travel a direct journey or a convoluted route.

I don’t know about you, but living in Boise has made me appreciate nonstop flights.

In our spiritual lives, let’s opt for the nonstop option.

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