The term metzora refers to a person afflicted with tzaraas, a skin condition which resembles leprosy. The question arises: Why does such a negative subject feature in the name of a Torah reading?

Chassidus explains that tzoraas stems from intense spiritual energy that cannot be manifest because of a lack of adequate mediums of expression. For when this powerful energy is not harnessed correctly, there can be negative results.

The blemishes appear on the person’s skin, for a) the problems lie at the peripheries not at the core. At the core, the potential as awesomely positive; and

b) when the problems on the peripheries are revealed, they can be corrected. Ultimately, through the suffering and purification process which a leper must undergo, the eventual outcome is also positive.

In this vein, we can understand why our Sages describe Mashiach as “a leper” and the Temple as “a house afflicted with tzoraas. ” Since there are blotches of evil in the world that prevent the light of redemption from being manifest, the power of these lights is turned inward and is reflected in the leprous blemishes to be visited on Mashiach and the Temple.

Mashiach’s suffering will not, however, be for all time. Instead, “the leper will be purified” and the inner light identified with him will be expressed throughout existence. And then, “the spirit of impurity will be removed from the earth.”