Redemption and Renewal /A reflection on Parashat Metzorah & Shabbat Hagadol
“Passover preparations should go beyond Matzoh balls and Gefilte Fish; Now is the season to prepare our spirits and to dedicate the time to recognize what are our lesions and wounds, what are the painful marks that are gradually covering your essence and becoming your identity.”
Parashat Metzora speaks about the Tzara’at, a disfiguring skin disease, but which is also something that can appear in our hair, clothes and even houses. A week ago we read Parashat Tazri’a. Parashat Tazri’a and Metzora are often read together, and as we shared in the past, these two portions can be understood as the “biology of spirituality”. Torah teaches that when a person recognized a Nega- a lesion – he would go to the Cohen – the priest. We learn that the person who has been in touch with a NEGA – lesion – or that has the Tzara’at himself needs to be excluded from the camp for one to seven days. The two Torah portions establish a clear connection between the illness or the exhaustion of our bodies and the need to work with our souls as a crucial factor in the healing process.
This week is also Shabbat Hagadol. This is the Shabbat before Passover, which has received its name from the traditional Haftarah reading in which we learn about the ultimate redemption announced by Elijah the Prophet.
So we have three dots that I would like to connect.
The first one is Parashat Metzora, with the idea that our bodies and our souls are intrinsically linked and that often healing commences by dedicating time to our Neshamot, to our souls.
The second is this time of the year, in which we are preparing toward Passover.
And the third one is the idea of redemption.
As we think about these three ideas I would like to add one more; and it is that Torah also says that the Hebrew month of Nissan, which just started a week ago, is the first of the months of the year. Spring-time and Passover are a time of fresh and new beginnings. As we see very clearly here in Orange county, during spring time nature is telling us that life can blossom, that re-birth is not a metaphor but a reality.
This week’s Torah portion reminds us the importance of acknowledging our lesions and wounds and the imperative of providing time to our souls to help us heal. We all have wounds in our souls, our very existence creates internal collateral damage and that’s completely natural. The problem is that we usually try to avoid thinking about these wounds; but by doing so they don’t go away, they rather start to accumulate and gradually obscure the light of our existence. It is like chaining our spirits to our pain and becoming captive by our indifference and the lack of dedication to healing our souls
Passover preparations should go beyond Matzoh balls and Gefilte Fish; Now is the season to prepare our spirits and to dedicate the time to recognize what are our lesions and wounds, what are the painful marks that are gradually covering your essence and becoming your identity. This is time to recognize them and to let them go, or maybe even burn them all like we do with the Chametz that we don’t want to carry into the holiday.
Passover is redemption time and it starts by releasing our spirits from those things that are holding them / us back from becoming the vision of who we want to be. Redemption sometimes sounds like something too abstract but just for a moment….Imagine yourself walking into the holiday without the weight of a wound that you have been carrying for way too long…. As we embrace this spiritual process, we aspire and strive to convert this holiday of redemption and renewal into something that we can fully experience in a personal level.
May we have the courage to reclaim the freedom that allows our souls not just to heal but to blossom.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach