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15/16 April: Parshat Metzora

rabbipaulsmlShabbat comes in 7.43pm: goes out 8.49pm 

This week’s portion centers on the cure for tz’raat.  The disease had a spiritual cause and curing it was a spiritual act.  That is why the priests took on a major role in any healing.  The Torah appears to be saying that disease may have a physical cause but there is also a spiritual dimension.

Medication and surgery treat the physical aspects of disease.  But they ignore an equally important aspect of healing – the spiritual dimension.  At shul we say a prayers for those who are ill.  Judaism emphasizes the importance of bikur holim – visiting the sick.  The Talmud teaches that someone who visits a sick person will take away 1/60 of the illness.  (Nedarim 39b)   Even modern science admits the importance of a positive attitude in healing the body.

Humans are more than machines.  Perhaps the Torah, by emphasizing the role of the priest in healing, is teaching us the importance of the spirit, not just the body, in a cure.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

April 12, 2016