Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch has always been a bit intimidated by this week’s parasha, Tazria-Metzora, which deals with treating those afflicted with disease. “It lays out a path for these people to be quarantined and then let back into society. Healing is not only a medical process; it’s also a spiritual and religious process.
"New York's streets are silent now, but our city will come back noisy as ever," says our Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. "As we rebuild, we, ourselves, will be rebuilt."
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch asks what kind of person each of us will be when we emerge from social isolation and finds guidance from Jewish tradition.
On the Shabbat before Passover, each Israelite household was commanded to watch over a lamb for four days before using its blood to mark their doorposts. “God wanted the Israelites to earn their freedom — even if it was simply by keeping watch,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “So today, each of us must do something — even if it’s simply keeping watch — to restore our freedoms.”
“We read in the Book of Daniel, ‘thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ We must pass this test — or there will be incalculable human suffering,” says Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch. “Have patience. Keep these monotonous days in perspective. They will not last forever.”