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Banish Evil Forever

There are two approaches to dealing with evil, both on the micro and on the macro level. The first is to focus on the evil and its destructive power. The second is to accentuate the positive and allow the light to dispel the darkness. A hint to the Torah’s preference for fighting evil with life is found in the opening verse of Parshas Metzora, which discusses the manner in which a Metzora, a person afflicted with a rare skin disease, is to be purified:

“G-d spoke to Moses, saying: This will be the Torah [law] of the Metzora, on the day of his ritual purification, and he should be brought to the Kohen.”

Or HaChayim questions the necessity of this introductory verse. The Torah could have begun discussing the purification rites of a Metzora by simply stating: “A Metzora is purified by coming to the Kohen etc.” Why the need to emphasize that “This is the Torah of the Metzora?”

The word Metzora is said to be a contraction of two words: Motzi Ra, usually translated as “one who finds evil.” The conventional understanding is that the Metzora’s affliction is caused by his penchant to find evil in others. One may, however, suggest an alternate translation: “one who wishes to eradicate the evil” from oneself.

Let us cite interpret the verse in light of the foregoing novel translation of the word Metzora:

“This will be the Torah [law] of the Metzora, on the day of his ritual purification, and he should be brought to the Kohen-priest.”

The Torah alludes here to the person who wishes to rid himself of the negativity that caused him to see the negative in others. This he can do by employing the positive approach, namely through the study of Torah. This explains the concluding words of the Parsha’s verse: “On the day of his purification.” One of the benefits of following the positive approach to overcome evil is that some of its beneficial effects are immediate. Thus, states the Torah, the purification is affected on that very day.

The Talmud informs us that Moshiach is also referred to as a Metzora!

On the surface, this designation for the most spiritual individual is puzzling. One possible explanation, in light of the above, is that Moshiach is the ultimate eradicator of evil and negativity.

How does Moshiach accomplish the goal of ridding the world of war and hatred, among other forms of negativity? Moshiach, in addition to being the ultimate leader, is also the consummate teacher of Torah. According to the Kabbala, Moshiach’s uniqueness as a Torah teacher is that he will impart the most esoteric aspects of Torah to all.

The Kabbalists explain that the revealed parts of Torah deal with the realities of our world. Thus, this part of Torah is called the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” It is the Divine Blueprint for changing a world that is a mixture of good and evil. The teachings of Kabbala and Chassidus—and especially the teachings that will be revealed by Moshiach—by contrast, are referred to as “the Tree of Life.” It is Torah in its most pure, pristine and positive state.

The Torah thus informs us that Moshiach, the Metzora, will bring about the “day of purification”, i.e., the Messianic Age, primarily, by teaching Torah.

We can now understand the emphasis of the Chassidic movement on the positive approach and the reason why it has been adopted by so many in recent times. As we get closer to the Messianic Age, we must prepare for the time when the exclusive approach will be the positive one—through the study of the most positive manifestation of the Divine knowledge.



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