Health, Nutrition & Torah: Tazria

| April 14, 2010

The Text:

Leviticus 13:3-6 “The priest shall examine the affection on the skin of the body…when the priest sees it, he shall pronounce the person impure…the priest shall isolate the affected person for seven days.  On the seventh day the priest shall conduct an examination, and if the affection has remained unchanged in color and the disease has not spread on the skin, the priest shall isolate that person for another seven days.  On the seventh day the priest shall again conduct an examination:  if the affection has faded and has not spread on the skin, the priest shall pronounce the person pure.”

The Torah prescribes that lepers should be isolated.  Upon recovery, they can return to the camp, but while they are affected they are to remain on the fringes.

The Context:

This portion contains graphic descriptions of people who have leprous affections.  It describes the process a priest should go through in order to determine whether a suspected leper is indeed leprous and how the leper should be removed from the camp.

Today, there are many people who, like the lepers of old, live on the fringes of society.  Some of them have been forgotten or neglected by family; others have been let down by society.

Sadly, veterans of our armed services are all too often among this neglected or forgotten group.  Many of them are homeless and hungry.  The question is:  Why has our country failed so many of the men and women who served with such honor, not providing them the physical and mental health care they richly deserve?

What it Means for Advocates:

Consider this: although veterans make up only 11% of the adult population, one out of four of the homeless in America are veterans.

Learn about how you can make a difference in the lives of local veterans.  Read about available resources like hospitals, counseling centers and shelters, and write to your representatives to show that concern for veterans is an important issue to you.

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