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April 25, 2017 / conservadox

Dvar Torah – Tazria (really a double portion but I’m focusing on the first one)

This week’s Torah portion is all about various diseases that render one ritually impure.  One of the first passages refer to someone who has a white “blotch, a creamy blotch, or a spot” (Lev. 13:2).

Miller says that one way of looking at these diseases is as variations on an inflated ego.  A blotch is “a swelling underneath the skin… the veiled ego which other persons do not notice.” The “creamy blotch” is a more moderate “form of ego [that] will make you feel superior to other people, but not over those who exceed you in wisdom or stature.”

In other words, Miller is setting a pretty high ethical bar, suggesting that we should not feel superior even to those who do not “exceed you in wisdom or stature.”  But this begs the question: why not?

On the one hand, people who are below me in wisdom or stature might have suffered from disadvantages that I don’t (e.g. poverty, a poor home environment in other ways).

On the other, shouldn’t I feel superior to Himmler?

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