From The Rabbi’s Study…Shabbat April 16, 2021/4 Iyar 5781/Omer 19 and 20
Torah: Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59) and Metzora (Leviticus 14:1-15:33)
Haftarah: Kings II 7:3-20
Wednesday April 14, Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day)
Thursday, April 15, Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day)
This Shabbat is a double Torah Parshot reading and a Haftarah will be for the New Month. The Torah parsha of Tazria has rituals of purification for a woman after childbirth, and methods for diagnosing and treating a variety of skin diseases(leprosy). The second portion from the Torah is Metzora, which also has methods for purification of the leper, and appearance and treatment of fungus or mildew in the house. Ritual impurity resulting from contact with discharges from sex.
The Jewish people were always concerned for the well being of their community. The Jewish community would take care of all the people healthy or ill, and they never sent the ill into the wilderness to die. The customs of many civilizations did send their weak, elderly and sick into the wilderness. The values of caring and treatment over 3,000 years ago were amazing.
The Priests (Kohanim) were the medical diagnosticians in ancient times. In this Torah portion we see that the priest functions not only in their religious role but also as a kind of diagnostician. The priests were called upon to diagnose the various skin diseases and offer treatment.
Today, during the pandemic many people have to be treated to bring them back to health, and few are dying. It is good news to hear after a year of so many individuals that died from the covid 19. While many individuals are receiving or have received their vaccinations, and there are others still waiting to be vaccinated, most people are still wearing masks to protect those that may not have been vaccinated.
Pikuach Nefesh is a Jewish mitzvah to protect people’s well being is akin to saving a life. Please follow the guidelines of the mask wearing, and this will soon become a part of history. Remember during ancient times, and when there were no medical treatments and medicines for people during the Black Plague (bubonic) in the Middle Ages killed
Today, doctors, nurses and their staff continue to use modern medicine and treatments that are saving many lives. While many people are adhering to safety measures to maintain their health, others are helping maintain our community’s well-being, we should strive to treat all people with kindness, not be judgmental in order to help everyone return to having health in both their body and mind.
Rabbi Helene Ainbinder