In the Weeds

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Sometimes reading the Parsha feels like doing homework, especially when it seems to get bogged down in details. Rav Samson Rephael Hirsch thought that the seemingly insignificant details are actually profound ideas if we just knew how to look at them. This module presents one amazing idea from Rav Hirsch which emerges from the granular evidence of the Parsha.

Part of the purification process for a Metzorah involved dabbing them with blood on their thumb and big toe. This may seem like a very odd ritual but Rav Hirsch thought that it was symbolically significant.

Rav Hirsch explains that our opposable appendages are one of the key differentiators between people and the vast majority of animals. By highlighting these body parts, we are telling the metzorah that his sins have made him like an animal; a slave to his impulses and completely lacking in holiness. Going forward, it will be critical for this sinner to try and focus on what makes people special. People rise above their base desires and pursue justice, righteousness and holiness.