This shall be the law of the person afflicted with tzara'ath, on the day of his cleansing… and the person to be cleansed shall take two live, clean birds, a cedar stick, a strip of crimson [wool], and hyssop. The kohen shall order, and one shall slaughter the one bird into an earthenware vessel, over spring water. [As for] the live bird, he shall take it, and then the cedar stick, the strip of crimson [wool], and the hyssop, and, along with the live bird, he shall dip them into the blood of the slaughtered bird, over the spring water. He shall then sprinkle seven times upon the person being cleansed from tzara'ath, and he shall cleanse him. He shall then send away the live bird into the [open] field. (Leviticus 14: 2-7)

These verses describe the purification process of a person afflicted with, tzara'ath, leprosy. This affliction is commonly understood as being caused by speaking lashon hara (slanderous talk). One of the reason suggested for bringing birds is that birds "chatter" mindlessly reflecting how the metzora is affected by speaking badly about others. In the painting, one bird hovers above a vessel containing water. The bird turns to blood, as it is sacrificed by the kohen to atone for idle chatter. The Sfat Emet says that the other bird which flies free is symbolic of all the good things that we could have said instead of the slander, but did not.

Cedar wood grows tall and symbolizes haughtiness. On the other hand, crimson thread, wool dyed with pigment made from a simple creature, and hyssop a lowly plant, both symbolize humility. There is a sense of movement in the painting as the priest takes these, dipping them into the blood of the bird and then sprinkles the blood on the person seven times.

The painting contains the full spectrum of color indicating how the contaminated person, who had previously been excluded from the camp, shut out in spiritual darkness, is able to shine his light again in his newfound humility.