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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

04/20/2023 05:00:09 PM


Rabbi Josh Whinston

When we talk about Leviticus being a difficult book of the Torah, it is for mainly two reasons; the litany of sacrifices and the focus on disease. This week’s double portion, tazria-metzora, focuses on the disease section. The condition is often translated as leprosy, but as I have said in years past, this is not the Hansen’s disease we know today as leprosy. The portions discuss an ailment closer to psoriasis than Hansen’s disease. Most of us don’t look to the Torah for medical advice, so the actual condition discussed may not be of great concern to us, but how the person with tzara’at (the name of the ailment in the Torah) is treated should be of great concern. With particular detail, the Torah describes the priest’s (there were no doctors at the time) responsibility to check on the person. The person with the ailment was sent outside the community and must be checked every seven days until their tzara’at healed. Attending to this person was crucial to our ancestors, as attending to the ill is to us today.

Currently, how we attend to those in need is a bit haphazard at TBE. We can prepare meals for a short time, and Cantor Hayut and I visit people in the hospital and at home. However, we know that our caring community could be so much more.

We need your help. We need leaders who are willing and able to help coordinate our efforts to help ensure that all members of our community are held closely at their most vulnerable moments. If you could help coordinate a more dynamic and responsive caring community effort, please get in touch with me ( We need your help!

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784