The New Shul


This week’s two parshiyot, Tazria and M’tzora, explain the role of the priests in diagnosing leprosy, and in helping those who had recovered from the disease to make a transition back to normal life.

The Torah says that, in making the diagnosis, “the priest should look at the lesion” (Lev. 13:3). But then, a few words later, the Torah says that “the priest should look at him (i.e. the sufferer).” Why the shift in perspective?

According to the author of Siftei Tzadik, the Torah wanted to teach that it was not good enough for the priest simply to look at the disease. In order to be of help, he had to look at the whole person. Only by seeing the sufferer as a whole human being could the priest help him/her to begin to heal.

That teaching offers us a broader lesson about how to support each other during times of illness. Illness tends to rob a person of his/her sense of self. The sufferer can easily start to feel like a set of symptoms, a diagnosis, a case, rather than a human being. Our job as friends or loved ones is to help restore the sufferer’s sense of self by seeing him/her as a whole person. By being truly present with one who is ill, by acknowledging that person as an image of God, we help him/her to become whole again.

May we all, in that way, be healers to one another.

  • Candle lighting this Friday evening April 21, is at 6:45 pm. Shabbat ends on Saturday night at 7:43 pm.
  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 to about 11:45 am, followed by a kiddush-lunch open to all. This Shabbat, April 22, the kiddush-lunch is sponsored by Diane Targovnik, John Jacobs, and Nina Targovnik in honor of the birthdays of Diane, SionSage, and Selma Targovnik.
  • Weekday minyanim are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm.