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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad


Metzora 28-5

One affected by tzaraat

Leviticus 14:54 – 15:15

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When any man has a bodily discharge, the discharge is unclean.

Lev. 15:1-2 NIV

May a ritually unclean person approach the Eternal?

When the Eternal gave these laws of ritual impurity, He not only spoke to Moshe rabbenu but also with Aharon Hacohen (cf. Lev. 13:1; 14:33; 15:1), because Aharon represents the sanctuary in a special way. Ritual impurity laws have to do with the people's strict behaviour when the shechinah (the revealed presence of the Eternal) was in the earthly tabernacle. Even though it is not easy to understand why ritual impurity happens, we can find a common element in all cases; they all have to do with death in one way or another.

The Eternal is a living God and that's why ritual impurity is produced by death. Unclean animals don't produce ritual impurity when they are alive. The plague of tzaraat leads to death if man is not healed from it. A person's corpse is the main source of ritual impurity. Things related to death produce ritual impurity.

Through this text, we learn that disease in the reproductive system produces ritual impurity too. These kinds of diseases are a step towards death, because the result of one of them may be men's inability to reproduce. Without being able to have children, the human race would be extinct in time.

A ritually impure person is not allowed in the tabernacle and in this way he'll have to remain away from the manifested presence of the Eternal. If he'd approach in state of impurity, not only would he be in risk of being harmed by the Eternal's fire, but he could also transmit his impurity to the sanctuary's sacred things, not to mention the sacred meat that he could be able to eat in there. Therefore, any unclean person had to be kept outside of the tabernacle.

The following question comes up: Can a ritually impure person pray? Of course he can pray in a state of impurity. If not, women would have to stop praying during all the days of their menstrual impurity. We must pray and come close to the Eternal in the spirit every day. But when the temple is built again in Yerushalayim, we won't be able to go in if we are ritually impure.

Now, since the first arrival of the Messiah and his resurrection, a new path to serve the Eternal was opened in the heavenly service in the order of Malki-Tzedek; and, in spite of the body being ritually impure, it's possible to enter the sanctuary in heaven in the spirit and be close to the Eternal. It's possible to worship from afar (Ex 24:1) with impure bodies, but close in the spirit.

I'm convinced though, that the Eternal is more pleased with us if we try to keep our bodies ritually clean as much as we can, even if we don't have the tabernacle among us now. Moreover and especially because in the Messiah our bodies are temples of the Spirit of Sanctity.

Kol tuv,

Ketriel


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