April 5, 2019

This weeks Torah portion is called 'Tazria'. It's often combined with the next portion, M'tzora. At the beginning of Tazria, in chapter 12, we read that if a woman gives birth to a boy, she will be impure for 1 week. If she gives birth to a girl, she will be impure for 2 weeks. I'm certainly not going to try to deal with the possible inequality here. Instead, I'm going examine what comes next, beginning with chapter 13, where we see a very puzzling section of Torah that deals exclusively with one thing...a strange skin condition called tzaraht, usually described as leprosy, though it is believed that it was more akin to something like a curable fungus that afflicted not just skin, but fabrics, as well as plastered buildings and stone structures. How strange is that!?

Now, why would the Torah devote so much time to this strange condition? When we think of the Torah, we think of a book of laws, of morality, and of spirituality...not a medical manual, so why is so much time spent on this?...

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