Parashat Tazria-Metzora

(She Bears Seed-Infected One)

Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33

II Kings 7:3 - 7:20

In the Torah portion Tazria, God instructs Moses about the purification rituals for mothers following childbirth. God then describes to Moses and Aaron the procedures for identifying and responding to those infected with leprosy. In Metzora, God describes the purification ritual for people and homes afflicted with skin diseases; God also instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the laws of the emission of bodily fluids.

FULL SUMMARY: TAZRIA
FULL SUMMARY: METZORA

Where Childbirth Gets Short Shrift

Why is birth nestled between dietary restrictions and skin diseases?

More on this Torah Portion

Life, Death and Impurity

Ritual purity laws highlight the power of confronting mortality and the subsequent need to ritualize the reaffirmation of life.

The Leprosy Of Irresponsible Speech

Learning to control our speech will enable us to transform the world into a community that respects the shared humanity of all people.

Judging Ourselves And Others

The priest's role in declaring and treating leprosy, a physical manifestation of spiritual impurity, teaches us not to judge our own or others' spiritual lives.

The Toothpaste Sacrifice

Like toothpaste, derogatory speech cannot be returned to the tube.

Reappropriating the Taboo

Bringing new meaning to the status of a menstruating woman.

A Gay Perspective On Punishment And Disease

Understanding God's presence in disease means viewing illness not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to treat others as created in the image of God.

How to Use Your Most Powerful Weapon

We are defined by how we use our tongues and by the words that leave our lips each day.

The Power of Words

While we might not break into boils when we gossip or spread rumors, it certainly can make us ugly on the inside.

Parashat Tazria Quiz

Learn more about the weekly Torah portion.

Leper as Other

How to create a society that recognizes and meets the needs of ill and marginalized people.

Making Room for the Leper

When we embrace with one hand but push away with the other, it's the push that remains in lasting memory.

Metzora

Leviticus 14:1-15:33

Tazria

Leviticus 12:1-13:59

Sensitivity To Speech

Rabbinic interpreters regarded leprosy as punishment for the sin of careless speech.

Parental Sacrifice

The burnt offering and the sin offering that a woman brings after childbirth symbolize the dual nature of parenting.

Recipe For Purity

An internal process of repentance must accompany the external, physical cleansing for leprosy.

Better Than God?

The ritual of circumcision allows us to partner with God in the covenant and also in perfecting creation.

Cycles Of Life, Death, And Purification

The cycle of life and death represented by leprosy encourages us to bring acts of purity into our lives even when we have become impure.

The Cursed House

The image of a house afflicted with a plague encourages us to examine what real and metaphorical plagues afflict our own homes and societies.

Parashat Metzora: Summary

God describes the purification ritual for people and homes afflicted with leprosy; God also instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the laws of the emission of bodily fluids.

Modern Untouchables: Our Sins Of Exclusion

Parshat Metzora calls attention to how we treat those who are excluded and alienated from our society.

The Subtleties Of One Letter

We can learn numerous lessons from the statement of the owner of a house that appears to be afflicted with spiritual defilement.

Reaching Out To The Isolated

Just as the priest went out from the community to welcome back those afflicted with leprosy, we too should reach out to those who feel excluded.

Is It Blasphemous To Heal People?

Even if we view leprosy as a punishment, we must work to heal the afflicted, allowing our sense of compassion to override justice or logic.

Parashat Tazria: Summary

God instructs Moses about the purification rituals for mothers following childbirth; God then describes to Moses and Aaron the procedures for identifying and responding to those infected with leprosy.

Clean Up Your Act

Living together as a community means learning to communicate effectively and respectfully.