Tazria - Metzora

Weekly Parsha Summary

The Parshahs of Tazria and Metzora continue the discussion of the laws of tumah v’taharah, ritual impurity and purity.A woman giving birth should undergo a process of purification, which includes immersing in a mikvah and bringing offerings to the Beis Mikdash. All male infants are to be circumcised on the eighth day of life.

Tzaraas (often mistranslated as “leprosy”) is a supra-natural plague, which can afflict people as well as garments or homes. If white or pink patches appear on a person’s skin (dark pink or dark green in garments or homes), a kohen is summoned. Judging by various signs, such as an increase in size of the afflicted area after a seven-day quarantine, the kohen pronounces it tamei (impure) or tahor (pure).

A person afflicted with tzaraas must dwell alone outside of the camp (or city) until he is healed. The afflicted area in a garment or home must be removed; if the tzaraas recurs, the entire garment or home must be destroyed.

When the metzora heals, he or she is purified by the kohen with a special procedure involving two birds, spring water in an earthen vessel, a piece of cedar wood, a scarlet thread and a bundle of hyssop.

Ritual impurity is also engendered through a seminal or other discharge in a man, and menstruation or other discharge of blood in a woman, necessitating purification through immersion in a mikvah

Rabbi's Shabbos Message

Unnecessary Pain

"Then the Cohen shall command that they empty the house, before the Cohen goes into it to see the plague, so that all that is in the house

will not be made unclean, and afterwards the Cohen shall go in to see the house" (Vayikra 14:36)

Tzoraas was a blemish that could hit a person, object, or even a house. The cause is spiritual and is often a result of loshon horah. When a house is confirmed by the Cohen to have tzoraas, not only is the house to be contaminated with impurity, but also any object inside.

While most objects can become purified, any earthenware product must be destroyed.

Rashi tells us that the reason that the Cohen first orders all the objects to be removed, is so when he declares the house impure, those

objects will no longer be inside and will remain in their pure state. We see that even though we are being punished, Hashem is careful not to

cause us unnecessary financial loss.

Rav Pliskin brings in a story of the Steipler Gaon who once went to a store to find a lulav. Not finding anything that satisfied him, he walked

out. Within a few seconds, he turned around, went back in, and bought a lulav. On his way out the second time he explained to a relative who was with him, that if people saw him leave the store empty handed, they might erroneously think that there weren't any

kosher lulavim and would not shop there. Therefore, he made it a point to buy a lulav there.

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