Seeing A Specialist

Seeing A Specialist

The Torah teaches that a man who is afflicted with leprosy has to go through two phases of diagnosis.

The first phase is that one must go to an ‘expert’ well versed in the laws of leprosy for him to determine  what type of affliction it is.

This expert does not have to be a Kohen.

The second step is then to go to a Kohen to determine if one is pure or impure. 

Even after the expert ruled that it is an impure affliction, the person is still not impure.

The final decision of being impure can only be made by the Kohen, when he declares, “You are impure!”

The Kohen’s statement Is a necessary condition, without which the person is not impure.

Furthermore, even if a Kohen is not knowledgeable in the laws of leprosy and has to rely solely on the opinion of the expert, nonetheless one doesn’t become impure by the ruling of the expert himself, but rather only when the Kohen declares that he is impure.

The Essence of a Kohen

This raises a few questions.

Why is the Kohen’s declaration so important?

And why does this rule only apply in the case of leprosy and not in cases of other forms of impurity, which can be decided by someone other than the Kohen?

And this law seems to contradict the essence of what being a Kohen is all about. 

The Kohen’s job is to purify the Nation of Israel and to shower them with a spirit of purity.

Which is why he must be careful to preserve his own purity and is forbidden for him to become impure.

But here the Torah gives him the exact opposite job, to impurify the leper.


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Outside the Camp

The explanation is found in the severity of the impurity of leprosy.

It is the only impurity where Torah law says, ” He must sit alone , outside the camp is his dwelling.” (Vayikra 13:46)

Even other impure people aren’t allowed to sit in the presence of the leper.

They must leave the entire camp of Israel and go into total quarantine.

Because of the severity of the situation, the Torah rules that only a Kohen can determine this fate for a member of Israel.

A Kohen is an ‘Ish Chessed’, a man of loving-kindness.

His duty is to ‘Bless His nation Israel with love.’

The Torah doesn’t rely on the wise expert , though he is an halachic decider.

This is because it’s possible that the expert may not feel enough of the enormity of the pain and sadness that his decision will cause a Jew.

The Torah requires then only a Kohen, a man of chessed, loving-kindness, who does feel the terrible severity of the situation can be the one to make the final decision as to whether or not a Jew does indeed have leprosy and is impure.

Check Yourself First

From here we learn a clear lesson in cultivating an epic Jewish marriage.

When I, God Forbid, see something not good in my wife and even if it seems that my allegations are totally justified, the Torah rules that Jewish law isn’t by itself enough to decide whether or not one must be kicked out of the camp and learn their lesson.

Before a serious decision like this is made it’s necessary to first check one’s own quality of chessed, loving kindness and Ahavas Israel.

I have to ask myself and I’m coming from a place of the justified ‘expert’, or do I speak from the Kohen inside of me. 

And if, God forbid, I’m lacking in feeling empathy, compassion and love for my wife, then it is absolutely forbidden for me to make this decision about her.

The laws of leprosy teach us that the affliction itself, meaning my wife’s behavior and attitude, isn’t as impure as is my ‘declaration’ of her impurity.

And deciding that she should be ‘outside the camp’  is actually more severe than the actual negative things she did.

And before I voice the complaints about my wife, I make sure that I’m coming from the Kohen in me and not the Expert, then this is the sure fire way to becoming a Marriage King.


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