This week we read two Torah portions, Tazria and Metzora. Tazria comes from the Hebrew word meaning “to plant seeds.” Why does a farmer sow his field? For the purpose of obtaining a greater yield than he started with. It makes no sense to go to all that work if the end result will be quantitatively the same as before. Thus the whole point of planting seeds is to eventually harvest a larger crop of produce.
The Jewish soul, sent from the celestial spheres down into the physical world, is likened to a seed that is planted in the earth. Once enclothed within a physical body and able to perform practical mitzvot (commandments), the soul can obtain a very great “crop” from its service in this world.
In the allegorical sense, man’s service of G-d is likened to the act of sowing. His mission in life is to produce the greatest possible yield by sowing goodness within himself, his family and friends, and within the world at large. His study of Torah and performance of the commandments are like seeds that germinate into an overwhelmingly abundant yield of good.
Exile, too, is likened to the act of sowing. The actions we perform during the galut (exile) serve the function of cultivating and hastening their later outgrowth in the Messianic era.
The second Torah portion that is read this week is Metzora, which opens with the words “This shall be the law of the leper.” In many places this portion is known simply as “This Shall Be.”
The words “This shall be” are in the future tense. They constitute G-d’s promise that so it shall be, that after the difficult process of sowing there will be much to harvest. After the exile, the redemption will surely arrive. When Moshiach comes we will reap all the fine fruits that grew from the seeds we planted throughout the years of exile.
Thus the two Torah portions, Tazria and Metzora (“This Shall Be”), are symbolic of exile and redemption. In many years (as this one) they are read together, on the same Shabbat.
Whenever two Torah portions are combined it signifies that their themes are interrelated. Exile and redemption constitute a natural sequence; the redemption follows the exile immediately upon its conclusion.
We who are still in exile and involved in the act of “sowing” must thus always strive to connect ourselves in all we do to the imminent Final Redemption, just as Tazria is connected to Metzora. Our “seeds” must be sown with a sense of perpetual longing and anticipation of Moshiach’s coming. We must never reconcile ourselves to remaining in exile, but repeatedly demand and pray to G-d that He fulfil His promise. In this way we will merit the true and complete Redemption, immediately and at once. Moshiach NOW!!!