ֹבָּדָד יֵשֵׁב מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה מוֹשָׁבו
He shall dwell in isolation; his dwelling shall be outside the camp (Vayikra Tazria 13:46)
From Twerski on Chumash, by Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski, M.D.
One Friday, when R’ Aryeh Levin davened Minchah at the Kossel, he saw a woman crying bitterly. To his inquiry about her distress, she said that her son was hospitalized in isolation in a Jerusalem hospital for lepers. R’ Levin decided to visit the hospital, where he found that there were twelve Jews along with three hundred Arabs. Upon seeing him, the Jews burst into tears. “We have not had a visitor for years,” one man said. R’ Levin made it his business to visit them every Friday. One time they said to him, “Each time you come, we think this is the last time we will see you. All we do here is await death. No one has ever been discharged from this place.”
When the Jews asked for kosher food, R’ Levin’s wife would cook for them, and he personally brought the food to them. On Rosh Hashanah his son accompanied him to blow the shofar for them.
One time, R’ Levin asked the Rebbe of Sochachov to assist him in bringing food to the patients in the leper hospital in Bethlehem. He noted that R’ Levin went into each patient’s room to exchange a few words with them.
“Why do you take so much time to visit this Arab hospital?” the Rebbe asked. “Don’t they have their own clergy?” R’ Levin answered, “There is one Jewish patient there who needs my visit. Once I am there, I will not discriminate, and I will visit all the patients.”
More on Rabbi Aryeh Levin and his biography, A Tzaddik in Our Time
5 thoughts on “The Curse of Isolation”
Beautiful story, thanks. I saw I was on your blogroll and wanted to say that I have added you to mine.
I’m glad you both liked the story. I did find it confusing that it was included with the biblical tzaraat, which was supposed to be a spiritual ailment as opposed to a physical illness. But maybe that was why I picked this d’var torah, because at least “the curse of isolation” was something that made some sense for me from the topics of these last two parshiot of Tazria and Metzorah.
i read his biography a long time ago. it’s a great read.
Lion of Zion, I’ll put it on my “to read” book list. Thanks.