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Provided by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, exploring Torah through the original sources.
1. If a woman delivers a boy, how many days is she considered physically impure and how many days is she considered spiritually impure? What about a woman who delivers a baby girl?
2. From a practical point of view, what is the difference between the period of physical impurity and the period of spiritual impurity?
3. At the final end of her impurity, the woman is supposed to bring two sacrifices to the priest. Which were these sacrifices? What was an alternative sacrifice?
4. What were two sure signs of leprosy?
5. When it appeared that a person might have leprosy, to whom was he taken to check it?
6. If it was determined that a person had leprosy, where was he/she to dwell?
7. What is the reason, according to the Rabbis, that a person contracted leprosy? What is the source for this interpretation?
1. If a woman has a boy she is considered physically impure for seven days and spiritually impure for 33 days. If she has a girl she is considered physically impure for 14 days and spiritually impure for 66 days (12:2, 5).
2. During the first seven days of physical impurity after a woman gives birth to a boy and the 14 days after giving birth to a girl, intimate relations are forbidden (12:2, 5). During the period of spiritual impurity, a woman would not be able to touch a holy thing or come into the sanctuary (12:4).
3. The sacrifices were a burnt offering (of a one-year-old lamb) and a sin offering (turtle dove or young pigeon). If the women could not afford a lamb, two young pigeons or two turtle doves could be brought (12:6, 8).
4. Two signs of leprosy were the appearance of the plague deeper than the skin of the flesh, and the appearance of white hairs in the plague (13:3).
5. He would be taken to Aaron the priest or one of his sons, the priests (13:2).
6. A leper would dwell alone outside the camp (13:46).
7. According to the Rabbis, a person would contract leprosy if he/she engaged in lashon harah (gossip). The source of this interpretation is Miriam’s leprosy which followed the incident when she spoke ill of Moses (Numbers 12:10).
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