Parashat Tazria-Metzora (caused to conceive- Leprosy)
Leviticus 12:1-13:59; 14:1-15:33
Haftarah: II Kings 7:3-20
This passage from the Prophets reminds the reader that HaShem can bring vast change to a given situation in the blink of an eye. This fact should cause a person to remain hopeful and prayerful in spite of how one’s circumstances appear to his eyes. The context for the haftarah is that the king of Aram Ben Hadad was laying siege against Samaria and food became very scarce. The prices soared and the situation was so dismal that people even began to practice cannibalism (see chapter 6:27-29). It was during this dire time that Elisha announced,
“…At this time tomorrow a se’ah of flour will be one shekel and two se’ahs of barley will be one shekel at the gate of Samaria!” II Kings 7:1
These prices were very low and such a proclamation seemed like utter foolishness to one of the officials of the king of Samaria, who responded,
“Even if HaShem were to make windows in the heavens could this thing be?” II Kings 7:2
The Haftarah begins with four lepers sitting and starving outside of Samaria. Biblically speaking leprosy was cause by pride; that is, thinking of oneself before others. This is seen by doing a study of the character of the numerous lepers throughout the Scripture. They all acted selfishly. Because these men were nearly starved to death, they decided to go to the camp of their enemies and plead for mercy. This is a humble act showing that perhaps their punishment of being a leper had begun to bring about a change in their behavior.
It was shortly before these four men entered the camp that G-d caused a sound like a vast army to be heard in the Aramean camp and the soldiers fled leaving all their supplies, including vast amounts of food. These four men entered the camp and found it had been deserted and ate their fill of food and took spoils of gold, silver, and clothes. It was at this time that the most important part of the story from the perspective of the four men occurred. These four prideful men remarked,
“…We are not acting properly today, for today is a day of good news, yet we remain silent…let us go now and report this to the king’s place.” II Kings 7:9
This act showed that these men had truly repented from their selfishness and thought of others. It was this action that informed the Samarians that the danger was over and food was available. The next day the price of food had fallen to the exact amount that the man of G-d had promised.
That which had seemed utterly impossible became the reality, because G-d moved in the situation of His people. This is what HaShem wants to do in your life and mine. Have faith the change that you are needed may arrive tomorrow.
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