Love of the Land

For the week ending 1 February 2003 / 29 Shevat 5763

Uziyahu The Freed King

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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In the Kidron Valley in East Jerusalem one can still see, right next to Yad Avshalom, the column remaining from the Beit Hachofshet. This was the House of Freedom to which King Uziyahu was assigned after becoming a metzora as punishment for usurping the privilege of offering incense in the Beit Hamikdash that was reserved for kohanim.

A metzora could not reside within the walls of Jerusalem, so his kingly duties were assumed by his son Yotam. Since the responsibilities of a king were so burdensome, his forced release from this burden was seen as a sort of freedom which became the title for his residence.

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