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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Tazria 27-5

(She) will conceive

Leviticus 13:29-37

he shall be shaven, but shall not shave the scab. And the priest shall shut up the one who has the scab seven days more.

Lev. 13:33 MKJV

Why is it forbidden to remove the signs of impurity?

Beard and head hair are used as signs to see if there is any tzaraat. Their colour reveals if the person has been affected by that plague. In order to make a more accurate diagnosis, the person had to shave the part surrounding the scab but not the affected area itself, to see if the scab would spread, thus changing the hair colour during the time of testing. The hairs serve as a sign of impurity. If they were cut, it would be difficult for the priest to diagnose if there was really a tzaraat or not.

Men are tempted to eliminate the symptoms of the ailments they suffer instead of going to the root of the problem and looking for the real cause. What was the cause of the plague of tzaraat? One could have committed lashon harah – criticizing – or other sins that cause this kind of plague. If men eliminate only the exterior signs with no repentance of what caused the attack, he will only do more harm to himself, the others and the Eternal. Therefore, the Torah forbids removing the signs of impurity because the problem is not the sign but the moral faults who give way to the disease to come. Removing the signs doesn't help – repentance and rectifying is the remedy.

May the Eternal help us go to the root of the problems and not to treat too much the symptoms and their consequences.



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