Jews read the Torah in a yearly cycle, one portion per Sabbath. Now that Passover is past, we’re back to the regular schedule. This week’s reading is Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33), and it’s not an easy read. Not only because the subject matter is displeasing — a kind of skin disease, not leprosy but that’s often the loose translation, that imparts ritual impurity — but because the contemporary application is not at all obvious.
Liberal views, far from being random, actually form the political expression of a comprehensive worldview–in Biblical terms, tumah-thinking. It was to counteract this perspective that the Bible proposed its system of ritual contamination and purification.
Notwithstanding the Jewish identification with liberalism, God established us as a people to make exactly the kinds of distinctions I’ve tried to highlight here. “For I, God, am He that brings you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God,…to distinguish between the pure and the impure” (Leviticus 11:45-46).
While of course I have simplified a bit, liberalism is the ideological faction that, of the two philosophies in American political life, is easily the more identifiable with tumah.