On its face, this portion is Leviticus at its most inaccessible. Ugly lesions and discolorations appear on a person’s body. The victim turns to the priest. Based on the criteria laid down in last week’s portion, the priest knows whether this disfigurement is a sign of disease, requiring medical treatment, or a sign of ritual impurity. If the latter, the priest banishes the victim from all contact with society.
Depending on various changes in the victim’s physical condition, he remains in enforced isolation for up to two weeks. Then he goes through a mortifying purification ritual. Finally, he is is readmitted to society.
What can this possibly mean?