Time for prayer
Torah Portion: Tazria (She Conceives) Vayikra/Leviticus 12:1-13:59 Metzora (Leper) Vayikra/Leviticus 14:1-15:33 Vayikra/Leviticus 9:1-11:47
Haftorah Reading: II Kings 4:42-5:19, II Kings 7:3-20
As you know we read a double portion this week. Both of these portions had a common thread, uncleanness of a person, clothing or house. These portions also give detailed instructions on how to rid the person, house or clothing of this problem. Remember, having this condition of being unclean did not necessarily mean sin was involved. This condition, if contracted, did set the person or item apart and it could not be used in the Tabernacle and a person could not come into the Tabernacle in an unclean state.
One example that should be of interest to us is the case of childbirth, covered in chapter 12 of Leviticus. Here we read of the process that had to be followed before the newborn child could be brought into the Tabernacle. As we read these verses they should shed light on Luke 2:21-24. These verses covered the process that Mary and Joseph went through when they brought Yeshua into the Miskhan/Tabernacle to be presented before G-d. From these verses what are some things we can learn about Yeshua’s family? They followed the process we read of in chapter 12 of Leviticus. Yeshua was brought before the priest and dedicated to the L-rd. The family was not rich or even moderately well off. They were poor, as evident by the offering they brought. They brought two pigeons (Luke 2:22-24).
Yeshua was present before the Father exactly as set out in our portion today. He was a Jew. Our Messiah was a Jew and remains that today and through eternity. I say this to refute the anti-Semitism raging around our world today, even among Christians.
Now, on to my questions of the week. Jewish thought on the cause of the disease commonly called leprosy in scripture, is based on what happened to Miriam, Moshe’s sister in Numbers 12:1-13. The cause of her affliction was gossip. In Hebrew it is called lashon hara or an evil tongue. So, let’s look at these scriptures with that as a background.
Today our world has somewhat been forced into isolation, much like the person in our scriptures who was diagnosed with leprosy. This person was cut off from everyone as he went through this time. Maybe one benefit of that isolation and also for us now, was to have time to think. Think about where we are, to take stock of our deeds, to review our relationship with people and most of all, with G-d. In our case, this isolation gives us time to repent where needed, to consider the power of idle words spoken. James says in James 1:26 “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” Eph. 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that is may impart grace to the hearers.” And in Matthew 12:36, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
In the case of slander or gossip the issue is, have I been guilty of spreading gossip that might have hurt a person’s reputation or standing in the community. Even gossip that is based on some truth can be wrong. We as G-d’s people are required to talk to the person if we think there is an issue to be confronted. While we find ourselves in isolation I encourage each of you to set aside the time to meet with our High Priest. Let Him speak to you and direct you. Confess your wrongdoings of slander or spreading of rumors or any other sin He reveals to you.
As the people of G-d we are to be vigilant in living out our faith according to G-d’s word so others can see truth and G-dliness in how we act and what we do. In our scripture this was part of the process the person went through. It should be part of each of our lives. We are here to intercede for our country our city and our family. We are here to bring light not darkness.
Faith, I believe, is best expressed, as a process of listening to and speaking to the Father. Those times of prayer and hearing from Him result in the actions we should take or not take. Use this time, value this time G-d has given us. Bless each of you today.