D’var Torah: Parashat Tazria-Metzora

12 Apr
English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean...

English: Flag of Israel with the Mediterranean sea in the background, in Rishon LeZion. עברית: דגל ישראל בראשון לציון (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Throughout the week, as Israeli flags have begun to appear on hand railings, cars, sides of buildings, lamp posts, and backpacks, I was unsure how I should approach our parasha this week, which combines two parshiyot, Tazria and Metzora. The parasha contains instructions for the examination of skin afflictions. After presenting with a discoloration or scab of various colors and depths, the priest decides on the appropriate course of action. But what is the cause of the afflictions and what does that have to do with the Israeli flags that are now being prominently displayed?

Commentators have suggested that the source of the skin afflictions is the physical manifestation of something that exists below the surface. With regard to the skin ailments, it is representative of a level of spiritual failure or shortcoming.  I posit that the flags represent something far more positive that exists under the surface of Israeli society. The flags represent the groundswell of Zionism as Israel prepares for the Day of Remembrance and Independence Day, which will take place on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Israel will commemorate the fallen soldiers and victims of terrorist attacks, and then shift to a national celebration of independence and survival.  Despite the political, religious differences, and social differences as well as the vigorous debates that result, almost all are arguing for the Zionist dream of an independent, secure, prosperous, and peaceful Israel. On the surface, the arguing and politicking mask the underlying passion, just as the skin masks the soul within. It is with these significant days on the Israeli calendar that the true nature of Israel and Israelis bubbles to the surfaces as flags and banners flap in the breeze.

Shabbat shalom.

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