In this week’s parsha we read, “This is the teaching regarding the metzora: On the day of his purification, he shall be brought to the Kohen. And the Kohen shall go out of the camp…”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe notes a seeming contradiction in these verses. While in the first verse we are told that the metzora is brought to the Kohen, the very next verse states that the kohen goes out to visit the metzora! Which is it?

It is well known that tzara’as would come upon a Jew as a rectification for the sin of Lashon Hara. Chazal teach that because he has caused distance between people with his words, the metzora is distanced from others and must remain outside the camp. Disrupting the holy unity of the Jewish people by sowing hate and discord causes a spirit of impurity to descend upon the metzora which requires his removal from the Jewish camp. Still, our tzaddikim teach that every Jew has the ability to return to Hashem and begin anew regardless of how low he may have fallen or how defiled he has become. As Rebbe Nachman of Breslov so iconically declared, “There is no despair in the world at all!” Hashem is constantly pulling the strings behind the scene, working to bring His lost sheep back to the flock; “ki lo yidach mimcha nidach”.

However, our experience is a bit different. We don’t necessarily perceive the manner in which Hashem is directing our return, drawing us in with His magnetic pull of holiness and love. From our perspective, it appears as if our spiritual gains are a result of our own effort; as if we are drawing Hashem toward us instead of being pulled, effortlessly, into His warm embrace. But in truth, there is something deeper taking place. Our efforts to return to Hashem in teshuvah are just that, teshuvah – an answer to His call of infinite concern that echoes deep within the recesses of our souls.

The tzaddik teaches that this concept resolves the contradiction in the pesukim. The first verse reveals the truth from Hashem’s perspective. “He shall be brought to the kohen”: The metzora is truly being pulled toward the “Kohen”, a reference to Hashem. The second verse tells of how it appears from the sinner’s perspective, “And the kohen shall go out of the camp”: Hashem arranges our return in a way that makes it seem to be the fruit of our own labor.

Each and every Jew is forever caught in the magnetic field of Hashem’s ultimate concern and unconditional love. Are we ready to surrender to our Source?

Each and every Jew is forever caught in the magnetic field of Hashem’s ultimate care and unconditional love.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe
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R’ Yaakov Klein is the founder of the Lost Princess Initiative, an author, musician, and lecturer devoted to sharing the inner light of Torah through his books, music, and lectures.

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