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Rambam - Sefer HaMitzvos
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Positive Mitzvah 112

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Positive Mitzvah 112: Proclaiming the Impurity of a Metzorah
Leviticus 13:45. "His clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall grow long and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry; Impure, impure"

Do you like to play detective? Do you try to gather facts about people by their looks? Do their clothes provide a clue to their personalities?

Does their appearance give you information about them?

The Torah makes it easy for others to recognize a person considered to be impure.

In order to prevent the impurity from being transferred to another person, it is necessary that the impure person stand out so others will take notice and be careful.

A person who has become impure by Tzara'at is commanded to have a tear in his clothes, grow his hair long and let people know - by declaring himself impure.

Other types of impurities must also be made known to the public.

Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, the Talmud relates, cried on his deathbed. When his disciples asked the reason for his tears, he replied, "I don't know on which path they will take me."

Apparently, until then, the matter hadn't crossed his mind. Some people are constantly fretting over what will be with them in the end. Rabbi Yochanan was too busy thinking about what he had to do in the here and now. Up until the very last moment...

From: Bringing Heaven Down to Earth by Tzvi Freeman -

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