Tazria-Metzorah

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Sermon Spark: Tazria-Metzora

Spark: It is easy to become accustomed or numbed to the awe that is the existence of a State of Israel. We must find ways to not lose sight of its tremendous importance.

Key Text:

[Explaining the reason for sacrifices] The entire intent was to inspire awe in those who turned to the Temple, that they see it and be fearful, as it is said, “You shall … venerate My sanctuary” (Lev. 19:30; 26:2). When a person frequents a place, its impact on his soul diminishes, and he gradually is less awed by it… Since the objective was to maintain this sense of awe, the Almighty cautioned those who are unclean against entering the Sanctuary, by stipulating many sorts of uncleanness, to the extent that hardly a person turns out to be clean, save for a very few.

Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed, Part III, ch. 47

Framing:

Many of us struggle to connect with the ideas around purity and impurity we find in Vayikra. What does it have say to us in our world today? What was the point back then, and is all this still relevant now?

According to the Rambam, the laws of tumah and tahara served to protect against routine and the loss of impact for the Temple, a sacred place.

In relating to Israel, especially when we frequent it often in person, on the news, or in conversation, our sense of its importance, its awe-inspiring qualities, might easily be diminished. The tremendous historical, religious, and spiritual meaning and awe that should come along with a Jewish state after 2000 years of exile can be lost. Perhaps we can use the Rambam’s approach, that we might create different systems to continually inspire our awe and amazement towards the State of Israel.

Modern Context:

Echoes of the Shofar:

Today, blowing shofar at the Kotel is an everyday occurrence. A Jewish presence at the Western wall is taken for granted. Watching videos and hearing stories like this are ways we can instill wonder and awe for everything that Israel represents.

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