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Metzorah Summaries

Tazria-Metzorah 5780-2020

“Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth”
(edited and revised from Parashiot Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001)

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah–-the law of impurity and purity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by the commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers are entirely satisfying, they do reveal a great deal of wisdom and insight on the part of the Torah, reflecting a rather extraordinary understanding of the essence of human relationships.

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Metzorah 5779-2019

“The Ultimate Value and Sanctity of Human Life in Judaism”
(Revised and updated from Metzorah 5760-2000)

In ancient times, not only a menstruant woman, but also a man who has had a seminal emission, were rendered ritually impure. These complex laws of emissions and purification, that seem so crude at first blush, are truly enlightened. They come to underscore the sanctity of human life and Judaism’s ultimate regard for the value of life.

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Tazria-Metzora 5778-2018

“Looking at Tzara’at from a Different Perspective”

Summary: With the explosive growth of social media and the growing trend to let it “all hang out,” those who are concerned for the sanctity of speech need to follow the Torah’s strong advice to scrupulously guard our tongues and isolate the habitual speakers of evil.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5777-2017

“Insights to be Gleaned from the Metzorah, the Person Stricken with the Tzaraat Disease”

The Tzaraat disease and its accompanying rituals, appear at first blush, rather primitive. However, Tzaraat, like many other obscure concepts that appear in the Torah, when studied carefully, is deeply insightful and conveys a message of timeless importance to all of humankind.

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Metzorah 5776-2016

“G-d Has Pity on the Property of Israel”

The Kohen who comes to inspect the house that may be afflicted with Tzara’at (the spiritual/dermatological disease), orders that all the home’s furnishings be removed prior to the inspection. Our sages teach that this is done because the Al-mighty has pity on the possessions of Israel.

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Tazria-Metzorah-Yom Ha’atzmaut 5775-2015

“Finding the Silver Lining”

The ancient biblical affliction–Tzaraat, seems to convey the message that affliction and disease can at times be redemptive.

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Metzorah 5774-2014

“The Peddler and Evil Speech”

A well known Midrash tells of an encounter between the Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Yannai, and a peddler who taught the sage much about the importance of proper speech and the serious transgression of wanton, hurtful speech.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5773-2013

“Ritual Impurity and Tzaraat: A Contemporary Understanding”

The Biblical texts of parashiot Tazria and Metzorah seem quite foreign to contemporary thinkers. It is possible, however, to interpret the challenging concepts reflected in these parashiot in a more contemporary light and in a manner that may be more palatable to modern thinkers.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5772-2012

“The Essential Ingredient for Repentance and Prayer–Humility”

The highly symbolic ritual of purification of the person stricken with the Tzaraat disease has much to teach us about achieving proper Teshuva (repentance) and the art of offering exalted prayer.

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Metzora 5771-2011

“We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident”

Notwithstanding the uniqueness of the Declaration of Independence, the idea that certain concepts and ideas are truly “self-evident,” is not an original Jeffersonian concept. The Torah is filled with concepts and ideas that are regarded as self-evident.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5769-2009

“And He Shall be Brought to the Priest”

The expression, “And he shall be brought to the priest” is repeated in each of this week’s double parashiot, Tazria and Metzora. This recurring phrase is explained by various commentators as having important contemporary implications and bearing vital lessons for both Israel and American society.

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Metzorah 5768-2008

“Modesty and Humility for All”

The Torah requires a homeowner who suspects that his house is afflicted with the disease tzah’rah’aht to call the Kohen and tell him, “It seems to me as if there is an affliction in the house.” Our rabbis say that even if the homeowner is a scholar who knows for certain that the affliction is unquestionably tzah’rah’aht, the homeowner must not take it upon himself to say so definitively. There is much to be learned from this humble and modest approach.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5766-2006

“The Torah’s Home Security System”

In parashat Metzorah we learn of the perplexing law of the house that is afflicted with tzara’at. This ancient law has much to teach us about the positive values and behaviors that must permeate a Jewish home, and the ruin and destruction that result from improper models and examples.

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Metzorah 5765-2005

“And you think that Tzara’at is Weird?”

The ancient Biblical claims that a person could contract a dermatological disease by speaking lashon hara strains our rational credibility. And yet, every day scientific knowledge uncovers new and incredible discoveries that seem to be as absurd as the Biblical disease Tzara’at. Yet, many of these scientific discoveries are valid, in fact, we could not conduct our lives without utilizing these new scientific powers and discoveries. So, let’s not be so quick to dismiss the Biblical disease, Tzara’at. In light of what we’ve already discovered scientifically, Tzara’at may not at all be in the realm of impossibility.

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Metzorah 5763-2003

“The Nidah–Affirming the Sanctity of Life”

The laws of the menstruant woman are extremely complicated and are frequently misinterpreted and misunderstood. Nidah has nothing to do with impurity. To the contrary, the ritual is an affirmation of life, underscoring the basic Jewish tenet that the sanctity of human life is the bottom line of all of Judaism.

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Metzorah 5760-2000

“The Ultimate Value and Sanctity of Human Life in Judaism”

Not only a menstruant woman, but also a man who has had emissions was rendered ritually impure in ancient times. These complex laws of emissions and purification that seem so crude at first blush are truly enlightened. They come to teach the sanctity of human life and its ultimate value in Judaism.

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