Torah Reading: Parshat Tazriah - Metzorah Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33
Haftora (special for Rosh Chodesh): Isaiah 66:1 - 23


Shabbat Candle Lighting: 7:27 p.m.  
Shabbat Ends: 8:30 p.m.


Tazriah Metzorah



Revolutionary Connections

There’s a lot of controversy swirling around concerning the emergence of a revolutionary new level of communication called 5G. Literally speaking, this refers to the fifth generation of cellular communication. It is supposed to revolutionize the way the world connects.

“Everything we hear and see must serve as a lesson for us in our service to G‑d.” These words, spoken by the Ba’al Shem Tov, must be applied to this technological phenomenon as well.

Furthermore, Rabbi Schnur Zalman (founder of the Chabad movement, known as the Alter Rebbe) stated “we must live with the times,” which has been interpreted to mean that we must seek guidance from and connect everything to the weekly Torah portion.

What does 5G mean to us as Jews?

What is the connection between 5G and the Torah portion which discusses the phenomenon of tzara’as, skin lesions that render the person (known as a Metzora) ritually impure and required a quarantine (sound familiar?)?

Moreover, the Rebbe taught us that since we are living on the cusp of the Messianic Age we must seek to see all things in that light. In other words, if there is a lesson to be learned from new developments, it must shed some light on, or revolve around, Geulah-Redemption and Moshiach.

So, let’s take the letter “G”. It can be a hint to the fact that we are poised to enter into the period of Geulah-Redemption or G‑d, whose presence will be made manifest in the Messianic Age. The celestial game of hide-and-seek, where G‑d hides and we have to find Him, will finally be over. We will no longer have to search for the Divine in creation and in ourselves; it will become manifestly clear for everyone to see; indeed, as clear as the physical things we can see with the naked eye in broad daylight.

The Three Plains of Geulah

Geulah, and its exile counterpart Galus, is a phenomenon that exists on three plains: G‑d, the world and humanity.

First and foremost, G‑d is in self-imposed exile, which “denied” His ability to be seen and heard in our material world. G‑d wants us to remove the veil that obscures our vision of Him by learning Torah-Divine wisdom and observing the Mitzvos-G‑d’s will.

In the days of the Bais Hamikdash-Holy Temple, that veil was partially lifted. This gave people the ability to rebel against G‑d and His Torah, ultimately leading to the destruction of the Holy Temple.

Once the Temple was destroyed and the Jewish people scattered throughout the world, G‑d’s presence was obstructed from us to an even greater degree. This is what our Sages refer to as Galus Hashechinah-the exile of the Divine presence, wherein a thick veil obscures our ability to be in touch with G‑d.

Our pleas for Moshiach are thus pleas for G‑d’s own “liberation,” as it were.

Second, the entire physical world is in a state of exile. The very word for world in Hebrew, olam, actually means concealed. The Galus world is a world asleep, moribund or in a coma. Its faculties are compromised and suppressed. The world’s many spiritual treasures are overshadowed by gross materialism and an obsession with the surface and the superficial, distracting us from digging deeper to discover those precious gems.

Third, we are in an internal exile. We are not in touch with our G‑dly soul. We are controlled by an animal soul, which prioritizes the temporal over the eternal, darkness over light, mortality over immortality.

Only humanity has the power to remove the veil and redeem itself, the world and even G‑d Himself.

How Can We Lift the Veil?

The above analysis of the deplorable state of the G‑d-world-humanity continuum raises a powerful question:

When the Temple stood and G‑d’s light was able to shine through the clouds and the world basked in its glow, we did not succeed in removing the veil entirely. This led to its imposition even more aggressively.

The question thus is: If we failed to remove the veil when the Temple stood, even though we had much more light shining in the world, how, in the world, will we be able to remove a much thicker veil: the veil of Galus?

5G: The Five Levels of the Soul

The answer lies in 5G.

The teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidus teach us that our G‑dly souls, our personal “G”, are composed of five levels, known by the names nefesh, ruach, neshomo, chaya and yechidah.

These five levels have been understood in the following manner:

Nefesh  is the part of the soul that is responsible for our G‑dly behavior; our commitment to behave in a G‑dly manner. A Jew who performs a Mitzvah because he or she was raised to be an observant Jew is thereby expressing and exercising the nefesh component of his or her soul. 

When a Jew imbues his or her Mitzvah performance with feeling, inspiration and heartfelt emotion, he or she has unleashed the ruach module of his or her soul.

When we develop a sophisticated understanding of the Mitzvah and our minds become saturated with Divine wisdom, our soul is in the neshama mode.

When we exercise our will-power and tenacity to “push the envelope” in our observance, emotions and understanding, this expresses the overarching and imposing faculty of will, the level of chaya.

It would seem that we have all of our bases covered. What is left for the number five?

Chassidus explains that the fifth level, the yechidah, is the closest to our true essence. In terms of the soul’s powers it represents the delight, the oneg, we have to be G‑dly. It’s our most natural state and when it is expressed we cannot even imagine behaving in a way that is not in consonance with G‑d’s will. We don’t have to push ourselves; we just have to be our true selves.

The fifth level is said to be the “micro” or the spark of Moshiach within each and every one of us. When elicited, it unleashes the Geulah dynamic through the revelation of the macro-Moshiach, whose soul is said to be the essential yechidah soul.

Uniqueness of Galus

While we expressed the higher four levels in the days of the Temple, it is the fifth and quintessential level of the soul that is strongest in times of exile.  It represents the ability of the Jew to be Jewish in times of total darkness, when G‑d’s presence is eclipsed. Even without will-power, comprehension, emotion and simple commitment to the Mitzvos, Jews have—to one extent or another—just felt like being and doing Jewishly. It is their essence.

So, when the world unleashes its technological revolution with the emergence of 5G, the ultimate in connectivity, it mirrors another 5G that is unfolding: the liberation of humanity, the world and G‑d Himself.

 Moshiach the Metzorah 

The connection between our weekly parsha that deals with the Metzora and 5G is that the skin lesion with which the Metzora is afflicted is referred to as nega. The kabbalists state that if you rearrange those letters it spells oneg-delight, the fifth and most essential aspect of the soul. 

The Talmud states that, indeed, Moshiach is identified as a Metzora who had to be isolated in a positive sense. He is considered quarantined because his spiritual state is separate from, and head and shoulders above, the rest of humanity because he possesses the yechidah component in full force. But Moshiach is not aloof. His life is devoted to bringing liberation to us by helping us ignite that yechidah-Moshiach-5G-spark within.