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Metzora (person with tzara'at)

Leviticus 14:1 to 15:33, 2 Kings 7:3-20


The ritual that brings a former metzora back into the community is quite similar to the ritual that ordains a cohen. In both cases the person is being reminded to hear, serve, and walk with God—the priest because of his new job, and the metzora because he is restored from being "spiritually dead".

A poor metzora can substitute two pigeons for the lambs of the chattat and olah. But the asham that makes reparation for guilt must always be a lamb. This hints that God put tzara'at on people because of their guilt, not their sin.

Traditional Jewish Commentary

The word metzora can be seen as the contraction of the words motzi ra ("brings out evil"). Therefore God puts tzara'at on people who bring out evil in others.

The Gemara notices that before a house with tzara'at is inspected by a priest it is emptied so its contents are not declared unclean—even though objects within an unclean house should be declared unclean. It explains that God put tzara'at on the home of someone who would not lend his posessions to help others. In punishment, God makes all that person's posessions leave the house!