Parshat Tazria (Leviticus 12:1-13:59) — This week’s Torah portion begins an exploration of Tumah and Tahara, impurity and purity. What do those terms really mean? What is the common thread that binds the the birthing mother and the one struck by the spiritual leprosy called Tzaraat? What does such a thread teach us about our own living with our Divine imperatives?
Shorashim Torah Overview and Study Guide
Q) Do these terms relate to the English terms of CLEAN and UNCLEAN? If not, how can one prove that by looking at the priest’s role in the determination?
A woman giving birth should undergo a process of purification, which includes a period of seven days if it is a male child followed by 33 day period and double seven day period followed by 66 days of waiting if it is a female child.
Q) What does the seven day period signify?
Q) Why the double time period for a female child?
This is then followed by immersing in a mikvah (a naturally gathered pool of water) and bringing offerings to the Holy Temple.
Q) What does the immersing in a mikvah symbolize? What period in our lives does it mirror?
Q) What two sacrifices are brought and does each one signify for the new mother?
All male infants are to be circumcised on the eighth day of life.
Q) Why the eighth day?
We then learn about the Tzaraat (“leprosy”) which is a supra-natural plague, which also can afflict garments and houses .
Q) What does tzaraat signify and what sins bring them on esp[ecially in consideration of what happened to Miriam, sister of Moshe and Gehazi the servant of Elisha?
Judging by various signs, such the Priest or Kohen pronounces it tameh (impure) or tahor (pure).
Q) What happens before he pronounces it and what does that teach us?
A person afflicted with tzaraat must dwell alone outside of the camp
Q) Why is that so?
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