Yup. We skipped Tazria-Metzora. My bat mitzvah parsha. As I read through these parshiot, I recalled the torture of coming up with a relevant dvar torah about leprosy and menstruation over twenty years ago. Of course, I am aware of the rabbinic connection between tzaraat and lashon hara and that that is the most common, relevant, and inspiring way to go. But, I just couldn't do it. First of all, it is nowhere in the text. The parsha simply has nothing to do with lashon hara, so I cannot justify dedicating a "parsha lesson" to something that is completely midrashic. And, more importantly, I am concerned about transmitting the message that we assume people with physical external ailments (such as swellings, rashes, and discoloration) have committed some morally offensive act(like lashon hara) and therefore must be banished (albeit temporarily) from the community (outside of the camp). This seemed like dangerous, uncomfortable, morally problematic territory to me. Not to mention, it makes for a weird craft. Of course, I did find the following "leper puppets" online as a way to teach the Christian Bible story of Jesus healing the ten lepers:
But, that was just not my thing. It doesn't seem to appeal to other Jewish educators either. The parsha sites that I visited generally used this week to teach Sefirat HaOmer or Yom Haatzmaut (both timely cop-outs) instead of touching this Parsha's unseemly topics. I however, in my unwavering commitment to the parsha, would rather skip it altogether than pretend it is about lashon hara, the omer, or Israel. Ok, fine, it was also Maya's 5th birthday and I had tea parties to plan and pinatas to stuff.