In the Talmud, a question is asked: “What is Moshiach’s name? The rabbis say, “the metzora of the house of Rebbi.” On the verse “and the metzora that has the lesion,” the Midrash explains, “metzora, this is the Holy Temple.”

The metzora is one inflicted by a spiritual ailment called tzaraat, in which a patch of his skin or hair takes on a different color and textures.

Usually, we see a metzora as an outcast, inflicted because of some wrongdoing. However, it seems from here that a metzora is a good thing. The holiest man (Moshiach) and the holiest place (the Holy Temple) are called metzora.

Why is this?

To understand, first we have to comprehend why there hasn’t been a metzora since the time of the Temple.

During the Temple era, when people went up to the Temple they beheld the Divine presence, they witnessed miracles regularly. The people were of a different caliber. They were able to reach spiritual heights that are unattainable now in exile.

One can say that the metzora was a person who was at the highest level. He worked on refining himself until he had absolutely no trace of evil left in him, neither in his inner spiritual makeup nor in his outer physical makeup. The only thing that was left was the remnants of impurities he once had. These remnants come out as tzaraat.

Today, there are no longer people at these spiritual degrees; hence, there are no metzoras.

Now we see why Moshiach and the Holy Temple are called metzora—because a metzora is a spiritual giant, and because they are both connected to our redemption from this dark exile.

In this exile, we suffered unimaginable pain. This suffering also acts as a purifier and cleanses us. Now at the end of the exile, all that is left are mere remnants. Moshiach and the Beis Hamikdash will cleanse us from these remnants.

All of us have pain in our lives. This is the condition of our exile. It helps, albeit a little, that the pangs of the exile have meaning, as they bring the redemption.

Laying here in my bed, receiving visitors and getting emails, many have shared their pain with me. Most found that as a result of their pain, they have attained some positive outcome they never would have imagined had they not gone through their struggle.

I have experienced this firsthand. Being sick has been a struggle for me, for my wonderful wife and for my family. But this struggle has brought out love, talents, strength and inspiration we never knew we had.

So it seems in some way that our pain and suffering is good, just as a metzora is the holiest person.

Who am I kidding? We have suffered enough! It is time for Moshiach, the metzora of the house of Rebbi, to come and redeem us from this exile. May it happen soon.