At times, we all desire a reset button to change the past or to create a new future. Parashat Tazria has the keys to doing such on a spiritual level.
Parashat Tazria and Metzora are often read together, but due to this year’s extra Adar, the Parashiot are read separately. Both Parashiot deal with the laws regarding a Metzora (a person contaminated with Tzara’at). Parashat Tazria focuses on the different appearances of which the Tzara'at can take form, while Parashat Metzora discusses the purification period of the Metzora.
When one notices a red or white blemish, he/she is to report to a Kohen for further examination. If the Kohen determines that the person is contaminated with Tzara'at, he expels the Metzora from the community for seven days. The Metzora can reenter the community at the end of the seven days if the Kohen confirms that the Tzara’at has healed. Additionally, Parashat Metzora states that prior to a Metzora resuming his normal activities, he goes to the Mikveh for purification. Immersion in a Mikveh is the primary method of purifying oneself. All converts must immerse themselves in a Mikveh prior to their conversion since many compare the immersion in a Mikveh to a spiritual rebirth. According to the Gemara (Yevamot 47b), a convert is considered a Jew once he or she exits the Mikveh. Moreover, many compare the water that is on a convert’s body after emerging from a Mikveh to the water on a new-born child following his birth. The Metzora goes into the Mikveh for rebirth and thereby being suitable to reenter the community.
In honor of Rosh Chodesh Nissan, Parashat HaChodesh (Shemot 12:1-20) is read for Maftir. The passage contains Bnei Yisrael’s first Mitzvah: Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is the declaration of the new moon that marks the start of a new month in the Jewish calendar. Rashi (Shemot 12:2 s.v. HaChodesh HaZeh) interprets the word “Chodesh” as “renewal.” This means that every month is a time for a new beginning. Furthermore, we use the lunar calendar for its symbolic trait of humility. The moon expresses its humility by not shining its own light; but rather, reflecting the light of a greater source (i.e. the sun). We also try to express our humility by not overly expressing ourselves and by reflecting the light of Hashem. Indeed, we were created BeTzelem Elokim (in the image of God), and we should strive to act as such. Lastly, just like the moon, which is constantly waning and waxing, we are going through a never-ending spiritual battle with highs and lows. However, just as the moon continues to shine, so too must we as well. Finally, for Parashat HaChodesh, we read a special Haftarah from Sefer Yechezkel (45:16 - 46:18) that discusses the Korbanot that will be given by the prince of Bnei Yisrael on Rosh Chodesh Nissan during the time of the third Beit HaMikdash. Thus, we see the completion of a spiritual reset akin to that of the Metzora and the moon. All of the three passages we read this Shabbat symbolizes the theme of redemption and renewal. The tedious process a Metzora undergoes to do Teshuvah and become pure again is connected to the moon’s lengthy cycle of growth and recession since they both have the goal of reflecting the light of Hashem. Hopefully, by repenting and pressing the spiritual reset button, we can all merit, as depicted in this week's Haftorah, the Mikdash HaShelishi and its glory.