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This Will Be
This will be the law of the Metzora… And he will be brought to the Kohen."

A "Metzora," or leper, is one who spoke lashon hara, slander, and was punished with an outbreak on his skin. One who is found to have Tzaraat must appear before the Kohen (priest), who examines the blemish and declares it pure or impure. If the Kohen declares the blemish impure, the Metzora is sent outside the camp for a period of isolation.

The punishment of Tzaraat is intended to reflect the crime. He spoke slander which led to friction and division between others; therefore, his punishment is to be sent outside the camp. Fighting and divisiveness is the opposite of holiness; the one who sows strife cannot be found within the camp of holiness.

In order to purify the Metzora and return him to the camp, the Kohen goes out to him in his place of isolation. Why, then, does the Torah describe the leper as being "brought to the Kohen"? Furthermore, the word "v'huva," and he will be brought, implies that the Metzora is being brought against his will to the Kohen.

• • •

The concept of Metzora is actually a metaphor for anyone who sins. Any sin is the opposite of holiness, distances one from G-d, and causes one to be banished outside the camp, if not literally then figuratively.

However, G-d promises the Jewish people that in the end, every Jew will do Teshuva and his Teshuva will be accepted. Even an intentional sinner who has no interest in ever returning to Judaism will in the end be restored to the camp. No Jew will remain isolated and banished forever.

How do we know this? From the Metzora. It is said, "He will be brought to the Kohen." Even against his will. The sinner in the end will be brought to the Kohen, who will direct him to Teshuva and guide him back to the camp of the Shechina, the Divine presence.

• • •

In the past, the Torah portion of this week was called "Zot Tihyeh," This Will Be, after the first words of the Parsha, rather than "Metzora." Being that Metzora is an undesirable situation, why is a portion in the Torah called by a name that symbolizes something negative, Metzora?

In past generations, the Parsha was called by a name that indicated a state that would transpire in the distant future — "This Will Be." What will be in the future? "This will be the Torah of the Metzora." In the future, the Metzora—the negative matters — will be transformed to positive, to Torah. The darkness will be turned to light with the coming of Moshiach.

In our generation, however, the generation that is preparing for redemption, when Moshiach is standing behind our walls, we no longer speak of Redemption as a far-off reality, "This Will Be." Rather, it is something very much in the present, which we anticipate at any moment. Therefore we call the portion by the name "Metzora," since the light of Moshiach has already begun to be seen, and we can already anticipate the positive transformation of the Metzora.

(Based on an address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Likutei Sichos vol. 6, p. 100-104)



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