Torah Portion: Tazria Leviticus 12:1-13:59
HafTorah: II Kings 4:42-5:19
Today we read mainly about two things that render a person ta’ama or unclean. One being much more serious than the other. Remember ta’ama or unclean meant the person who was in this state could not enter the Temple in Jerusalem to worship. It did not necessarily mean they had sinned. But this condition rendered them unable to enter G-d’s presence physically. So, let us look at both and see what spiritual lessons we can glean from scripture.
First we will begin with childbirth and also a woman’s monthly cycle. Here in Leviticus 12:1-8 we read the commandments governing this issue. First, however where do we see this situation of childbirth played out in the New Testament? Luke 2:21-24 we read about this exact situation. Mary and Joseph came to Jerusalem to offer the sacrifice mentioned here to end her time of purification. What did they bring? They brought two turtle doves, two pigeons. Bringing turtle doves indicated they were poor. So when we read these verses in Leviticus we see them being played out thousands of years later in the life of Yeshua.
But to get to the spiritual lesson we must go deeper. Why did G-d give this law concerning something so normal and part of everyday life? Was the woman inherently evil or lacking in some way? Of course not. Rather than that, G-d was/is teaching us something profound in an everyday common event. The Torah is an instrument of words, words that impact life. Yeshua in John 1 is said to be that Word. So the Torah takes an everyday event to teach us. G-d is a G-d of life, not of buildings, or monuments but a G-d of life and how we are to see that in everything around us. Childbirth is a good example of this. These commandments concerning childbirth can show us the giving of life. The mother has in some way, taken on a characteristic of G-d in that she has been an instrument in creating life, a new life with unbounded potential in this world. This is also a life that will, in time, sin and have need of repentance but one that can change the world. In the case of a female baby the time of purification doubles. Why? Because this female child will or at least has the possibility of also having children, of bringing more life into the world. The blood spilled during childbirth and the monthly cycle are the reasons for the woman being unclean and have to be dealt with before she can reenter the Mishkan or Temple. In the monthly cycle it is even ore than blood, in that a potential for birth, for a new creation has not been realized and therefore is somewhat like a death for which the woman is declared unclean and like sitting sheva when a death occurs in a family is separated from entering the Mishkan or Temple. In both of these cases G-d is teaching us about the sanctity of life and its spiritual potential.
The other topic in this Torah section is leprosy. It is known as the father of uncleanness. Judaism connects it to lashon harah or gossip. Why is that? Is there some scriptural basis for this opinion? What is the first case of lashon harah in scripture? It was the snake talking to Eve. It brought death into the human experience and caused a level of spiritual harm in that man was separated from G-d’s presence, which he had experienced completely before. Moses speaks lashon harah in Exodus 4:1 when he said, “They will not believe me.” G-d gives him three signs, staff turned into a snake, the Nile turned into blood and a leprous hand.
Miriam also spoke ill of Moses and is punished with leprosy. So why is gossip so bad? Again it is words, words that hurt. They can kill both spiritually and physically. How often do we see a person committing suicide because of some rumor spread about them. Like leprosy, gossip can spread infecting many people. Matthew 12:36-37 tells us we will give account for every careless word. James 1:26, Eph. 4:29, James 3:8. Gossip is not just a habit it is a destroyer. There are times when sin must be confronted but how is it to be done? I Cor. 5:1 Paul confronted sin but directly to the person not by gossip. Let each of us use Psalms 14:1-3 as our guide each day that we not be guilty of this sin.
Now about Yeshua, what places in the New Testament did you see Him living out Torah? We have already talked about one where His mother and father lived it in their lives. Another is Luke 2:41 concerning Passover. His parents went to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Passover. Point is, He lived as a Torah observant Jew, to do otherwise would have been considered a sin.