Post Metzora Musings

After reading about Tzaras for the past two weeks. The Shikkerdovid would like to share an idea. He is sure that it is not original as some smarter, more knowlegeable Rabbis must have thought about this already. Nevertheless:

In the first part: Tazria , we are taught about the skin afflications (tzaras) on the arm, head, clothing etc. Famously we know that this affliction is due to speaking ill or otherwise of others (lotion of hora). However in the second part Metzora (chapter 14 sentence 33-34) We are told the following: When you come into the land of Canaan which I gave to you and there is an affliction on the house in the land of your inheritance….” Rashi famously tells us that the Cannanites hid their gold during the 40 years the Jews were in the desert. When the Jews came to their houses and saw the Tzars plagues on the house, they dutifully knocked the walls as the Torah commanded, thereby finding the Gold hidden in the walls.

While I am sure that others thought of this first, the Shikkerdovid would like to share the following musings: In life, we are afflicted with setbacks, smacked with curveballs, step into unknown land mines. Essentially, a challenge or problem or “affliction” arises and we assume the worst. Similar to the punishment of Tzarat found on your house. However, this Rashi comes to teach us that, their is sometime an existenial silver lining. The same way, it would appear that Tzarat on the house is bad, yet knocking down the walls revealed gold- so to, when life gives a “tzar” (pain) moment or dilemma, we must have faith that there is a motive, direction or silver lining which will benefit us in the long run.

This might be a hard lesson while one is faced with the challenge or the affliction. But we must try to see the hand or hashem or “silver lining ” in every challenge or affliction.

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2 Responses to Post Metzora Musings

  1. Anonymous says:

    There are approaches other than the “it’s all good” approach. But at the end of the day, theodicy may be seen as the Achilles Heal of monotheism. Chag Kasher V’Sameach.

  2. Michael Altman says:

    Fair point, but it doesn;t work for me. As as I understand it (and I could be wrong) — it is pretty much universally accepted (within the universe of traditional miphorshim) that tzaras is a punishment for a specific moral failing. I would hate to think that is the case with whatever “setbacks … curveballs [and/or] unknown land mines” we might face in our own personal lives. While they may be such divine punishment, I prefer to think not. Since I blame them on randomness or “bad luck,” I can’t also assign them some divine “motive, direction or silver lining which will benefit us in the long run.”

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