Tuesday, April 17, 2007

defer to authority

Parshat Tazria

In 13: 14-17 the Torah discusses the asic form of tzara'as and says, "He will come to the Kohen...and show the Kohen..if it changes to white he will be pure..the Kohen will declare him impure..etc"

This is a very simple form of tzara'as. Some forms are complicated;different colors, hairs, on clothes, on the walls of the house, etc.. but the form here is very simple and the splotch on the skin is either white or fleshy. What is the big deal that the Kohen is needed for this?

A person has to defer to authority. it could not have been too difficult to recognize this splotch and identify it as either pure or impure - most people probably could have done this one on their own.

But no. ובא אל הכהן- he comes to the Kohen. He has to respect the authority of the Kohen and defer to him and allow the Kohen to do his job.


Futzuman said...

An alternative explanation is that a person needs to come specifically to a Cohen, for a Cohen is a descendant of Aaron. Aaron was אוהב שלום ורדף שלום, אוהב את הבריות ומקרבן לתורה (i.e., brining harmony to people using pleasant methods etc..)

Furthermore, the morning blessings include the following: אלה דברים שאדם אוכל פרותיהם... והבאת שלום בין אדם לתבירו.

This is where Aaron and his descendants excel: making peace between yidden by brining harmony in pleasant ways. Since tzaraas was an infliction caused by לשון הרע ("evil language") which cases פירוד לבבות (disunion between yidden) therefore it must be a Cohen who takes the roll of treating and handling it.

The more severe the ailment is (לשון הרע) the more specialized the doctor has to be (אוהב שלום ורדף שלום).

Futzuman said...

Perhaps end on a good and related note:
May this new month of אייר which is an acronym for "אני השם רופאך" be a month of much healing to the entire Jewish community, both physically and spiritually!

Rafi G said...