Ariel Ben Avraham

Tazria-Metzora: Keeping goodness pure and clean (II)

The two portions of the Torah we read this week encompass commandments related to purity and impurity in relation to our connection with the Creator. Our Sages refer to these subjects in the context of the forty years prior to enter the Promised Land, for living in the constant presence of God demands purity, for He is pure. Thus we understand the commandment to be sacred, for He is sacred.

In a simple understanding, we realize that what we are, have and do, imply context, situation and circumstance by which we live and interact with each other. The Torah teaches us to live in the broader context of goodness as the cause and purpose of God’s creation.

In Tazria, the Torah mentions that our impurity not only is reflected in our skin but also in our garments and our households. In a deeper meaning, these three aspects are certainly expressions of our consciousness.

The skin is what covers our body that contains human life. The garment has a two-fold quality, which is what protects and cover the fragility of our human quality, and also what reflects the identity or what defines who we are. The household is where we mainly dwell, inside the walls and under the roof that protect us and by which we live, for the house represents consciousness.

Thus we understand that skin, garment and household are part of the same life. God commands us to keep them clean in order to allow cleanliness to be the cause, the reason and the motivation to keep it as the way, means, purpose and end of life. Hence we realize that cleanliness or purity is the goodness we are commanded to honor as the sacredness God requires from us in order to dwell with Him in His camp of goodness.

In regards to fulfill the commandments related to purity, the offerings to God are part of them, for living in goodness is a learning process. Our wrongdoings, transgressions and mistakes lead us to the awareness of what is in target and off target, in regards to what we do to ourselves and to others.

As we have mentioned often, the offerings we bring up to God represent the recognition of our misdeeds, and the commitment to correct them with the continuous help of goodness. Thus we realize that goodness is also the catalyst for the change we have to go through, in order to differentiate between what matters the most in life, and what does not.

In every lesson we learn, goodness is behind us to keep walking forward in the forwardness of goodness. In this awareness we also learn that evil in all its forms and expressions are only references for us to choose goodness as the purity we are destined to live for eternity.

“In that era there will be no famine or war, envy or competition, for goodness will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God.” (Maimonides. Laws of kings and wars, chapter 12, paragraph 5)

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Zefat.
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