Recipe For Purity
An internal process of repentance must accompany the external, physical cleansing for leprosy.
These ingredients also point to the way to "come clean." Once this person resolves to stop telling tales, the sores that spread the tale of the sinner's disease will truly disappear. Only by eliminating his own haughtiness can the individual stand as tall as a cedar. Only by remaining as grounded as a worm or a plant can the individual become fit to re-enter the camp.
In the bigger picture of what this seemingly bizarre ritual means: It takes more than shaving one's hair and bathing several times for a former leper to re-enter the camp and, consequently, Israelite society. The external cleansing must be accompanied by an internal cleansing; the physical healing can only occur in tandem with a spiritual accounting. As the purification ritual requires the priest to release one of the live birds back to freedom in the great outdoors, the leper can simultaneously move from the very same outdoors back into the camp, where elaborate codes of purity and behavior rule the roost.
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