Have you ever contemplated or wondered the deeper meaning of the very cryptic Torah portion, which extends for nearly two whole parshas, that describes in detail the spiritual cleansing and atonement process for the metzora? This mystical procedure involves taking some of the blood, from the korbon that is offered, and placing it on the right ear, the thumb of the right hand and the big toe on the right foot. Then the procedure is repeated applying (olive) oil at these very three same places? (Metzora 14:13-30). Let us ask a few more questions. What could be the possible significance of these specific locations and is there any way to relate to this supernatural “therapy” that not only heals the physical tzaraas but most importantly “heals” the blemish on the soul?
Lastly, why does this holistic healing therapy literally need to extend from the “head to the toe” rather than focusing just on the actual place of the physical tzaraas? Perhaps the Torah is teaching us here that “healing” always needs to be holistic for true rebalancing. Here the Torah guides the sincere penitent through a non-invasive esoteric transformation that has the power to not only revitalize the life force of the body but to “heal” the underlying blemish at its root.
Rav Hirsch explains beautifully that the blood that is placed on these places of the body to symbolize that from now on the metzora must improve himself in mind – which is located opposite the ear, deed – the thumb representing action and effort – the big toe representing forward movement.
Perhaps from this we can add the following: The (olive) oil, which alludes to the illuminating wisdom of the Torah, was specifically put at the same place as the blood – which corresponds to the nefesh – to teach us that Divine healing and illumination comes through “applying” the Torah to all of our faculties and phases of life: as it is written “Nar mitzvah – Torah ohr”.
Therefore let us take this golden opportunity, of the reading of these two Parshas of Tazria and Metzora to help us to always “hear” our inner calling of what is the best thing to “do” at each “step” of our lives, thereby bringing closer the footsteps of the final redemption.
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