In both the Torah and Haftarah readings we are dealing with the subject of an infectious skin disease which many translate as leprosy.  This portion gives a detailed account of how to determine if one has this disease, the treatment of one with this disease and how to be cleansed if one is healed of the disease.  One of the most important things to note is that if one is found to have this disease they are separated from the rest of the camp.  They no longer have a home.  They must give up their family and friends.  They no longer have a job or place in the community.

Tradition tells us that the reason one contacts this disease is because of the sin of “Lashon Hara”, the evil speech.  By this the sages meant speaking negatively about others         including slander.  Some have even defined lashon ha ra as including those insinuations in our words that are also damaging to others.  When we apply this truth in the spiritual realm, it can be quite sobering.   The rash that appears on the surface of the skin is indicative of a deeper more serious problem – leprosy.  So it is spiritually speaking, there are outward symptoms that are indicative of deeper spiritual issues that need to be dealt with.  We need to be able to look beyond the surface of our lives in every area – our words, our attitudes, our thoughts and our actions to understand what the deeper issue is that we might need to deal with.  These outward things are often symptomatic of something that is wrong.  The rash or white hair had to be examined because it was possibly a sign that there was this serious disease in the person’s body.

What are some signs of spiritual leprosy or deadness?  First, a pulling away from G-d and the people of G-d.  In fact it even goes as far as preferring to be with people who do not have a relationship with G-d instead of being with the people of G-d.  Next, lack of enthusiasm and passion for G-d and the things of G-d.  Again, the symptom could be that our all or most of our focus on a daily and weekly basis is taking care of the “natural” things, i.e., we are caught up in the things of this world that we do not have time to think about the kingdom of G-d.  A third area has to do with our spiritual eyesight.  When you have an infection in your eye in the natural, it is hard to see things clearly.  Your eyesight can be blurry and your vision impaired.  Spiritually speaking the same thing happens.  We begin to call black white and white black.  Other things that can indicate there is a spiritual problem include compromise – things you would never do before, you are now able to justify.  Denial – there’s nothing wrong with me.  I’m the same as I’ve always been and yet there is this huge rash breaking out all over your skin.  Lack of interest in the word of G-d.  In his book A Thirst for God, Sherwood Wirt explains this sad but profound truth: “When we are physically hungry and miss a meal, our appetite becomes ravenous. But if time passes and we receive no spiritual food, we may lose our appetite for it…. Malnutrition sets in and we cease to care.” No vision for seeing the kingdom of G-d go forward – to see those who do not yet know Messiah come to know Him.  Pride which is often displayed in the tendency to criticize the sins of others while neglecting our own issues.  Unforgiveness – holding onto grudges, not releasing people for what they really did that hurt us or for what we perceived they did.  Sexual immorality – not just in act but in our thoughts as well.

How do we receive a cure or healing for spiritual leprosy or deadness?  It is not by making external changes.  Changing the outward signs will not take care of the problem.  So to be healed or cured of spiritual leprosy we must first acknowledge that there is a problem.  Next we need to turn to G-d.  He is the source of our healing.  Secondly, we must be still in His presence and allow Him to speak – to correct, to teach, to enlighten, to discipline wherever we need it.  Let go of whatever it is that has led you to this state of being.  Pursue G-d – run after Him.  Seek Him with all your heart and soul.  This is more than just turning to Him.  It is cultivating a heart after Him more than anything else.  Simply cry out for more of Him.  In doing so, He will pour out His Ruach, Spirit.  In this there will be healing and refreshing for the dry and weary soul.

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