The Portion of Tazriah

Leviticus 12:1-13:59

The portion opens with the ritual laws of a woman who gives birth, but the bulk of the content discusses the identification and quarantine of the metzorah, or leper. Unlike the medical affliction, Biblical tzaraat, or leprosy, can also affect clothing or buildings.

 

 

Topic 1: Childbirth

After discussing which animals are Kosher for consumption in last week’s portion, the Torah Moves on to several cases of ritual impurity. These situations render a person unable to participate in holy rituals, such as attending or partaking of the sacrificial services. The Torah identifies what contaminates a person and how they can be purified.… Read More »

 

 

Topic 2: Tzaraat of the Body

The Torah next tackles the topic of tzaraat, a spiritual affliction typically translated as leprosy. It lists various lesions that need to be examined by a priest to determine whether one is infected. A leprous lesion, according to the Torah, is one which extends beyond the surface of the skin and contains white, or on… Read More »

 

 

Topic 3: Tzaraat for Clothing

It is not only the human body which can acquire tzaraat; it can appear on clothing, as well. A garment of wool, linen or leather upon which a red or green mark appears must be examined by the priest. He quarantines the garment for a week, then reexamines it. If the mark has spread, the… Read More »

 

 

Topic 4: Haftarah - German Reparations and the Blessings of Tzaraat

The bitter debate between David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin over monetary reparations from Germany was one of the most divisive issues confronting the young State of Israel in the early 1950’s. Despite Begin’s strong opposition, the Knesset approved the deal with West Germany which ended up saving Israel from economic insolvency, enabled the absorption of… Read More »
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