For the week of April 8, 2000 / 3 Nisan 5760
Torah: Vayikra / Leviticus 12:1 - 13:59
Haftarah: II Kings 4:42 - 5:19
Replaced by: Malachi 3:4-24

Drastic Measures

As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp (Vayikra / Leviticus 13:46).

God commanded that those infected with certain diseases should be isolated from the rest of the community until they were completely and certifiably healed.

Does that sound drastic to you? Harsh? Cold? Unloving? After all, in times such as these, don’t people need a high level of care, understanding, and acceptance? To remove them from the community must lower their self-esteem. Doesn’t our value on human life forbid taking away other people’s freedom to live where they please and do what they want?

We see in the Torah how God provides us with the necessary balance between individual freedoms and community well being. The presence of these diseases posed a threat to the entire community. To allow those with such infections freedom to mix with others could potentially destroy the whole community. In order to ensure the nation’s health, drastic measures needed to be taken.

Destructive forces need to be dealt with radically. If they are handled in a soft gentle manner, they will spread. Now this doesn’t mean that all disease was to be handled in this way. It was only in the case of destructive ones that such measures had to be taken.

Reading this portion shows us how radical Yeshua was. He actually touched people with the diseases described in our portion. But he too took drastic measures. We never see him taking a soft approach to evil or disease. He confronted sin, released people from demonic oppression, and healed sickness.

In the Torah we learn the seriousness of destructive forces. Through the Messiah they are eradicated.

We too need to be radical in our dealings with destructive forces, whether they are diseases or behaviors. The particular way we deal with something should be appropriate to the situation. But we need to be as drastic as needed for the sake of all involved rather than be misguided by our desire to be nice.

Instead of tolerating destruction in our communities, it is time we confronted it with the love and power of the Messiah. That is the only way we will experience the freedom God longs for us to have.

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