One of the laws pertaining to the Biblical affliction of leprosy discussed in this week’s Torah portion, Metzora, seems somewhat surprising.
If a person discovered an eruption, a bright spot, or a white hair indicative of the disease on part of his body, he was pronounced “impure” by the priest. If, however, the leprosy covered his entire body, he was pronounced pure. “[If] it is all turned white, he is pure,” the Torah repeats.
How can it be that when the leprosy is confined to one area, the person is impure, yet once it has spread all over his body, he is pure? There are two possible explanations:
The sole reason he is considered pure is because it is G-d’s will. According to logic, the person whose leprosy covers all of his flesh should be impure; G-d, however, has decreed that he is pure.
The law itself is logical. When the leprosy appears on only a part of a person’s skin, it is obvious that he is suffering from some sort of malady. If it covers all of his skin, it is indicative of the individual’s constitution and nature, not symptomatic of a disease.
The Talmud cites this law in connection to the concept of redemption, using the affliction of leprosy as a metaphor for sin. “The son of David [Moshiach] will not come until all authority has become heretical,” i.e., when G-dlessness is officially sanctioned and widespread throughout the world.
Here we may ask the same question raised regarding leprosy: If the world will be entirely dark, how will it be possible for the light of Redemption to shine through? Why will the Redemption occur precisely when evil is so powerful that it has overcome the entire world?
Again, the above two explanations may be applied to solve our dilemma:
There is no logic involved. Moshiach will come when he does only because G-d will have decreed it thus; the Redemption will occur independent of the world’s condition. An all-powerful and eternal G-d can certainly bring Moshiach no matter how degraded and evil the world becomes.
The fact that evil is ascendent throughout the entire world is proof that something unusual is taking place; were this not so, some pockets of good would certainly have remained. Rather, the absolute supremacy of evil indicates that all the negative forces have become externalized, as they have already been fully vanquished from within.
Thus, the phenomenon of “all authority has become heretical” is actually part of the world’s purification, a process of separating good from evil that will ultimately culminate with Moshiach’s revelation. At that time, the world will be sufficiently prepared for the light of Redemption. Moshiach NOW!!!