Parashat Tazria and Circumcision

Parashat Tazria and Circumcision

Mar 26, 2014 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Tazria

Parashat Tazria, at the heart of the book of Leviticus, presents a challenge of almost epic proportions in the search for modern, practical relevance.

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Between Tum’ah and Tohorah

Between Tum’ah and Tohorah

Apr 2, 2011 By Marc Wolf | Commentary | Tazria | Shabbat Hahodesh

It seems more than kismet that Passover falls when it does, following on the heels of the parashiyot of Leviticus in which we discuss the most base of subjects. In fact, rabbis and commentators through the ages have found the laws of tum’ah and tohorah (ritual impurity and purity) covered in these weeks before Passover so unsettling that, presumably in reaction, they have enthusiastically embraced the following statement from the Talmud: “Questions are asked and lectures are given on the laws of Passover beginning thirty days before” (BT Pesachim 6a). Surely, this is an avoidance tactic on the part of rabbis, but maybe it is also for the sake of the community—to save them from many discussions that would make them lose their appetites for the kiddush that follows services.

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Land, Language, and Leprosy

Land, Language, and Leprosy

Apr 10, 2013 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

The second of this week’s parashiyot, Metzora, is an enigma on so many levels.

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Deeper Than the Skin

Deeper Than the Skin

Apr 24, 2015 By Yitzhak Lewis | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

Your body is a map of roads
To be taken,
And not taken
Alone.

Your skin enfolds what
Your eyes shut behind them,

All your past is bored into it
Every day with the awl of time.

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The Torah’s Prescription for Healing

The Torah’s Prescription for Healing

Apr 9, 2013 By Alan Cooper | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

At a glance, the opening chapters of Parashat Metzora seem like a biblical antecedent of WebMD. Leviticus 13 describes the disfiguring symptoms of צרעת/tzara`at, starting with “a swelling, a rash, or a discoloration” that “develops into a scaly affection” (Lev. 13:1).

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Outside the Camp

Outside the Camp

Apr 24, 2015 By Julia Andelman | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

The double parashah of Tazria-Metzora ranks at the top of the list of parshiyot to avoid for a bar or bat mitzvah. Its detailed lists of bodily ailments—rashes, colorations, emissions, and secretions—associated with ritual impurity are not the stuff of religious inspiration in contemporary times. I confess to having once colluded with congregants to subtly move the date of their daughter’s bat mitzvah celebration slightly further away from her Hebrew birthday, in order to provide her with a more palatable Torah reading  to chant and speak about than Tazria-Metzora. But this year—the year of #BlackLivesMatter—has caused me to read Tazria-Metzora through a new and painfully relevant lens. 

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Healing of Body and Mind

Healing of Body and Mind

Apr 16, 2010 By Arnold M. Eisen | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

The Baal Shem Tov, seeking the sort of symbolic meaning in this week’s section of Leviticus that we too search out, found the laws of scaling and scalding, bodily discharge, and fungus in the warp and woof of fabric suggestive of the need for repentance and humility.

 

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Tazria-Metzora

Tazria-Metzora

Jan 1, 1980

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the Israelite people thus: When a woman at childbirth bears a male, she shall be unclean seven days; she shall be unclean as at the time of her menstrual infirmity.

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