Tzara’at as spiritual disease-ms&hs


By Rabbi Jonathan Cohen  (Rabbi of Michkan Torah, Greenbelt, MD)                      
Mishkan Torah is a member of both the Reconstructionist and Conservative movements 
adapted from:

The sages taught that tzara’at was not a bodily disease, but a physical manifestation of a spiritual disease. They believed that it was a punishment for saying bad or untrue things about others. They said that the Hebrew word Metzora is a contraction of the two words motzi and  rah which means “one who spreads slander.” The “treatment” or punishment for the person afflicted with tzara’at  was to be placed in isolation away from the community for a period of time. During this time he or she had time to reflect on the damage done by their words.

Once the condition had been cured, the metzorah then offered a sacrifice including two birds: one to slaughter and one to set free.

Q:  Why do you think one bird was slaughtered and one set free?