Does the name of this parshah
surprise you? After all, a metzora
is someone who speaks lashon hora
and has to be separated from the rest of the Jewish people. Shouldn't the name of every parshah
in the Torah be connected with something good and positive?
The parshah begins Zos t'hiyeh toras hametzora - "This will be the law for the metzora." Like many other parshiyos, the name was taken from the first words. But long ago, our Rabbis called this parshah, Zos Tihiyeh and not Metzora.
Why was its name changed? And why was it changed to Metzora, which stresses wrongdoing much more than do the words zos tihiyeh?
Looking into some of the laws about a metzora will help us answer these questions.
The Torah tells us V'huvah el hakohain, that the metzora should be brought to the kohain. Don't the words "should be brought" sound like the metzora has to be taken to the kohain, instead of going eagerly on his own? From these words, it seems as if the metzora is not interested in doing teshuvah or purifying himself!
This can happen. The metzora may not even realize that he has caused arguments and a lack of Achdus because of the lashon hora he spoke. He may not feel that he has a lot to do teshuvah for.HaShem is kind and patient. He commands the metzora to live alone, in a place where he will think about what he has done. Being alone causes feelings of teshuvah to grow in the metzora's heart. These feelings come from HaShem, who helps all of us turn to Him in teshuvah.
So at first, it's as if the metzora is being brought to the kohain, because his feelings of teshuvah come from outside, and not from deep inside himself.
Afterwards, the Torah tells us V'yatzah hakohain el m'chutz lamachaneh - "and the kohain will go outside the camp," to the metzora. By now, the metzora has been working on himself. His teshuvah is coming from within, and he is worthy that the kohain should come to him.
Now we can read the first words of the parshah with a deeper understanding. Zos tihiyeh - it will yet happen that, toras hametzora - the metzora himself will turn to Torah.
In the past, the parshah was called Zos tihiyeh - "This will be," meaning that it will happen in the future. But as the years passed, and the Jews came closer to the geulah, they began to call the parshah, Metzora. Since we are in the time just before Mashiach, we can already sense the change that will take place - when even a metzora will be able to "become Torah."
(Adapted from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. VII, p. 100ff)