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Tazria Summaries

Tazria 5779-2019

“Death and Life are in the ‘Hands’ of the Tongue!”
(Revised and updated from Tazria 5760-2000)

We tend to dismiss the power of the tongue, and yet it is so powerful, that it often has the ability to give life and take 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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Tazria 5776-2016

“Heavenly Reminders”

It is from parashat Tazria that we learn that we dare not disregard even a simple Bohak, a non-defiling discoloration of the skin. G-d continuously sends us messages. We must keep our eyes and ears open constantly to recognize them, hear them, and properly respond to them

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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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Tazria 5774-2014

“The Jewish Attitude Toward Healing and Medicine”

Although Jews have always played a prominent role in medicine and in the development of healing, the Bible’s attitude toward medicine and healing appears to be somewhat restrained, perhaps even ambivalent.

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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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Tazria 5771-2011

“Childbirth and Ritual Impurity”

In face of the great challenges that young mothers face, every birth brings trauma, fear, lack of confidence. Scripture states that when a woman bears a child, she shall be impure. But when that period ends, there is re-entry and welcoming, in the fullest sense.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5770-2010

“The Human Animal”

The rabbis are perplexed as to why the laws of childbirth follow the laws of kosher and non-kosher animals. Shouldn’t laws pertaining to humans come first?

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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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Tazria 5768-2008

“The Odd Ritual Practices of the Metzorah!”

In parashat Tazria we are taught that the metzorah, the person who is afflicted with the disease tzah’ra’aht for speaking lashon hara, must rend his clothes. He is also forbidden to cut his hair, must cover his mouth and head, and needs to call out publicly: “Contaminated, contaminated!” In addition, he is isolated from the rest of the community. What are the meanings of these rituals and behaviors, and what impact are they expected to have on gossipers and slanderers?

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Tazria-Metzorah 5767-2007

“The Conundrum of Childbirth”

The Torah in parashat Tazria declares that after the birth of a male child, a woman is in a state of ritual impurity for seven days followed by a state of ritual purity for 33 days. After the birth of a female child, the birth mother is in a state of ritual impurity for 14 days, followed by a state of ritual purity for 66 days. Our rabbis are perplexed by the law that a woman should be in a state of ritual impurity at all after giving birth to a child, and why the numbers of days of impurity and purity are doubled for a female child as opposed to the birth of a male child.

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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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Tazria 5765-2005

“Some Important Lessons That We Learn from the Ancient Biblical Tzara’at

The laws of the Biblical disease, tzara’at, are complex, and seem rather irrelevant. By surveying the nuances of the text in parashat Tazria we learn many profound messages about judging others favorably, healing ourselves and coming closer to G-d.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5764-2004

“Circumcision and Shabbat”

When the prescribed day for a circumcision falls out on the Shabbat, which commandment takes precedence? In the answer found in parashat Tazria, we discover the true essence of both these mitzvot, and how they each bind us to G-d and to eternity.

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Tazria 5763-2003

Tzaraat–The Spiritual Dermatological Disease”

According to Jewish tradition, the primary cause of the affliction tzaraat is lashon hara, speaking evil or slanderously of others. In ancient times, when one would speak evil of another person, a rash or infection would appear on the belongings or on the body of the perpetrator. On the surface, the assertion that one can develop a hideous skin rash from speaking evil seems quite preposterous, yet, there are many precedents for such things in life, science, and medicine.

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Tazria-Metzorah 5761-2001

“Challenging the Stereotypes: Purity and Impurity in Childbirth”

In parashat Tazria, we encounter one of the most perplexing laws found in the Torah–the law of purity and impurity of a mother following childbirth. A host of explanations are offered by our commentators and thinkers. Although none of the answers is 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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Tazria 5760-2000

“Death and Life are In the ‘Hands’ of the Tongue!”

We tend to dismiss the power of the tongue, and yet it has the ability to give life and to take life.

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