Dropped Like a Stone: Metzora 2022

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: How diligently do you recycle? Do you compost at your home? How essential do you believe these practices are in preserving our environment?

As the Israelites are instructed to maintain spiritual purity, they too are made aware of the need to properly manage their waste:

The Pitch: “The priest shall order the stones with the plague in them to be pulled out and cast outside the city into an unclean place.” – Leviticus 14:40 

Swing #1: “As the emphatic language suggests, what is involved is not a neutral act of removing contaminants but ridding the community of noxious impurities that are to be consigned, with vehement energy, to a place of impurity outside the pale of the community.” – Robert Alter, The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary

Swing #2: “The [use of plural verbs] is explained by the assumption that the removal of the stones requires great effort by more than one person.” – Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16

Swing #3: “And so with plagues it is this way: in the beginning they come on his house. If he repents for himself it is made good, and if not, the contaminated ones are removed. And if he repents for himself it is made good, and if not, the whole is demolished.” – Ruth Rabbah

Late-Inning Questions: Is it meaningful that the infected stones are so challenging to carry? Is this symbolic of the impact our missteps have on us? How heavy do our less-than-perfect moments weigh? Can repentance lift away some of that weight?

On-Deck at TBT: We look forward to another Passover drive-up event this Sunday. Bring us some food for donations and we’ll give you a bag filled with Passover goodies! Click here for more details.

The Big Inning at the End: Happy Opening Day! I’m a day late for some teams, as there were several games yesterday, but it feels fantastic that the game is actually back. There’s nothing like a prolonged labor dispute to remind us of the value our favorite pastimes have in our lives.

Shabbat Shalom!