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    Disease in ancient Jerusalem

    Contagious disease is a central feature of the Torah readings this Shabbat.

    Strangely the disease did not spread in Temple times when thousands of pilgrims went up to the sanctuary. The city was crowded but somehow the populace remained safe.

    There must have been something unique about their pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and unfortunately that saving grace seems lacking in our age.

    An explanation seems to be contained in the Midrashic interpretation of the disease.

    Though we usually translate the word M’tzora as “leper”, the sages viewed it metaphorically as the tendency to indulge in slander. M’tzora in that sense is motzi shem ra, a person who speaks badly of a neighbour.

    The great gathering in ancient Jerusalem saw so much human niceness between people.

    The pilgrims were protected by an aura of mutual appreciation and affection.

    #coronavirus #corona #covid-19 #covid19 #pandemic

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