In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
Shemini, Tazria: God is in Control of My Life 5777
Tehillim 34; 11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. 12 Who is the man who desires life and loves length of days that he may see good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.
Reiterating the importance of WHERE texts are located in the Torah. Why directly after the detailed instructions on what we are to put into our body as a spiritual lesson on sanctification, obedience and yare (reverence), are we introduced to another detailed portion regarding the metsora (person afflicted with tsara’at) & tsara’at- a biblical ‘disease’ administered by Hashem in direct connection to lashan hara (the evil tongue)= what comes out of our mouth. Before we darosh (search) further into the Torah let us recall from last week the connection between Nadav and Avihu and the ‘mixed message’ they were sending the people in regard to acceptable worship and to the Etz ha-da’at, tov v’ra with it’s mixed fruit and the ‘sin in the garden’. There were three terms which tied these two texts together along with several themes. Fascinating to find that the account of the sons of Aaron who came close to Hashem and stepped over the boundaries He set up…right ‘next to’ the detailed instructions for dietary boundaries among God’s Holy Nation of Priests. Holy eating and Holy living, boundaries and discernment, discipline and obedience are elements binding us together with Hashem and these texts which contain applicable spiritual lessons. How awesome the Psalm below, conveying the message that God will fill the mouth of His people, His redeemed people. We are even told with what He will fill it with. We are taught a lesson about choice and bezrat Hashem, we will learn about choosing our words and what comes out of our mouths, as well as why this is so VITAL.
#398 (v) akal אָכַל – to eat produce or fruit, meal, dine, sup, feast, to eat up, devour, consume, to taste, to diminish, lesson, take from..
- B’reshit 2:16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
#400 (masc. n) okel אֹכֶל – an eating, a devouring, to eat, food (corn, meal, grain, provision), prey.
- Vayikra 11:34 ‘Any of the food which may be eaten, on which water comes, shall become unclean, and any liquid which may be drunk in every vessel shall become unclean.
#401 (Fem N) oklah אָכְלָה – food [food of the fire-fuel].
- Vayikra 11:39 ‘Also if one of the animals dies which you have for food, the one who touches its carcass becomes unclean until evening
Tehillim 81; For the Choir director; on the Gittith. A Psalm of Asaph. 1Sing for joy to God our strength; Shout joyfully to the God of Jacob. 2Raise a song, strike the timbrel, The sweet sounding lyre with the harp. 3Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast day. 4For it is a statute for Israel, An ordinance of the God of Jacob. 5He established it for a testimony in Joseph When he went throughout the land of Egypt. I heard a language that I did not know: 6“I relieved his shoulder of the burden, His hands were freed from the basket. 7“You called in trouble and I rescued you; I answered you in the hiding place of thunder I proved you at the waters of Meribah. Selah. 8 “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me! 9“Let there be no strange god among you; Nor shall you worship any foreign god. 10“I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.
‘God’s world’ (man and creation in harmony), First- vegetarian diet.
B’reshit 1; 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
- The success of a farmer is dependent completely upon that which he cannot control. Rain, climate, the land itself. It is much easier for a farmer to recognize that his food comes from God. Eating vegetation connects us to the land. When we eat meat, it still comes from the land, but we are ‘once removed’ because our sustenance comes from the animal whose sustenance comes from the vegetation of the land.
‘Man’s world’,(man has dominion over animals and ‘may’ shed blood in order to ‘eat’) Next-‘ kill and eat’, but there are limits and boundaries.
B’reshit 9; 1And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2“The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3“Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4“Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. 5“Surely I will require (DARASH) your lifeblood לְנַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶם; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require (DARASH) the life נֶפֶשׁ of man. 6“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.
[sidenote: this is not an allotment for killing and eating anything- we should well note that there are things God considered to be FOOD and things that are NOT FOOD. When it states that you may have meat now…as the green plant connotes the change in the ‘world’ now. Before there was a harmony, now you can eat as much meat as you want…like it is grass for abundance if you so chose. This is mans world where devouring meat for pleasure COULD become like a beast devouring grass. Even so, God stresses boundaries. Again we learn that our ‘eating’ and God’s dietary allotments and prohibitions are a spiritual and symbolic lesson (the flag tying us the nation) which is applicable. Life is represented by the blood, therefore do not eat blood. What has been stated is confirmed as we read on and know that ‘requiring lifeblood’ is represented by a ‘redemption fee’ in the Temple, & not ‘literal’ human sacrifice.(chas v’shalom)]
- Before the flood God asserted mankind’s superiority over living things by giving man dominion over the animals. He could use animals for plowing and farming. We could assert dominance over animals, but we couldn’t eat them. That would show incredible insensitivity to the lifeforce of the animal; the ability to take away life plays precisely into the illusion that mankind is the master of life. Instead, both mankind and animals would eat from the very same source — natural vegetation. In that way, mankind would constantly remember that, regardless of its own superiority of species, the whole world is God’s.
How can mankind ensure that it won’t delude itself into forgetting God and thinking that mankind is in control?
Post Exodus, a ‘Newborn Nation’,the beginning of an official Union with the Almighty and now- Kosher laws, so you still remember Who is in control.
Vayikra 11; 2“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘These are the creatures which you may eat from all the animals that are on the earth. 3‘Whatever divides a hoof, thus making split hoofs, and chews the cud, among the animals, that you may eat. 4‘Nevertheless, you are not to eat of these, among those which chew the cud, or among those which divide the hoof: the camel, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you. 5‘Likewise, the shaphan, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; 6 the rabbit also, for though it chews cud, it does not divide the hoof, it is unclean to you; 7and the pig, for though it divides the hoof, thus making a split hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. 8‘You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you. 9‘These you may eat, whatever is in the water: all that have fins and scales, those in the water, in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat.
- One way man can recognize and remember Who is in control may be ‘Kosher’. The new permission to eat meat isn’t a blank check. God gives laws that restrict how and what we can eat. They’re laws that are specifically meant to help us refocus ourselves, so that even when we eat meat, we can avoid the illusion of control. We can eat in a state of spiritual sensitivity. The animals we eat are all grass-eaters. By eating vegetation in its rawest form, they remain deeply connected to the land, connected to Source. These grass-eaters are the last relics of the world’s ideal state. God says that even when we consume meat, even when we assert our dominance over animals, we must do it in a way that keeps us connected and sensitizes us to the Ultimate Source. Taking of these permitted animals connects us to the understanding that our nourishment really comes from the land which solidifies for us: we’re all really dependent on God for our sustenance.
The rules of Kosher aren’t meant to make our lives difficult. They’re meant to make our lives more meaningful. When we eat kosher animals, we are being deeply sensitive to maintain our connection to the land. If, by eating animals, we choose not to be sustained directly from the land, we cannot move more than one degree of separation from it. The animals we eat perfectly reflect the source of their nourishment. As such, we imbue ourselves with the humility and faith of the farmer, raising our eyes to the heavens, knowing that it is God who provides for us.
KOSHER NOT ABOUT REFRIGERATION OR HEALTH- THIS IS A SPIRITUAL LESSON APPLIED IN THE FLESH
Shemot 6:7 ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
Shemot 20:2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
Everything we do or do not do speaks to our responsibility to Him. When we eat it is to keep us in a fit condition to serve HASHEM. So when we are introduced to these Instructions it is in connection to the redemption from slavery, from the narrowness and burden of Mitsrayim.
The Hebrew is beautiful, it no longer reads: I am Hashem Who takes you out….from Egypt.
In the context of ‘clean eating’ Hashem now says, “Who takes you UP from Egypt…”
Now THIS is how you elevate yourself and become set apart for Me. Like Me.
Vayikra 11; 43‘Do not render yourselves נַפְשֹׁ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם detestable through any of the swarming things that swarm; and you shall not make yourselves unclean with them so that you become unclean. 44 ‘For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. 45’ For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’” 46 This is the law regarding the animal and the bird, and every living thing that moves in the waters and everything that swarms on the earth, 47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.
Vayikra 20; 24‘Hence I have said to you, “You are to possess their land, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the LORD your God, who has separated you from the peoples. 25‘You are therefore to make a distinction between the clean animal and the unclean, and between the unclean bird and the clean; and you shall not make yourselves נַפְשֹֽׁתֵיכֶ֜ם detestable by animal or by bird or by anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated for you as unclean. 26‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
#5315 (fem.n) Nephesh נֶפֶשׁ – breath, life, the will, the mind, the purpose, THE SOUL.
We can see by looking into the Hebrew that Kosher is not a matter of physical health or sense technologically (refrigeration, preservation). This is indeed a lesson about how to connect to our source, to the land from which Hashem made us (and the animals), to our very Soul’s health. This is one chance we have in this life to pledge, to join ourselves to רבונו של עולם Ribbono Shel Olam (Master of the World) through our physical bodies. Do I view it as an opportunity to join with Hashem, or do I look for excuses to reason pulling away (running away) from ‘it’?
[# 5314 (v) naphash נָפַשׁ – to take breath; rest, cease. On the Sabbath we are meant to stay in ‘our place’ to BE with Hashem and to tell the truth through our rest that He is the Creator and worthy to be entrusted with the allocation of Sacred times. This shoresh very rare, as you can see below, the Sabbath is a time where we can learn from the Torah and become literally
‘re-souled’. Shemot 23:12 “Six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female slave, as well as your stranger, may refresh H5314 themselves. Shemot 31:17 “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased, and was refreshed.” – “ Do you want to have more and more in life, or do you want to see more in what you have right now. R.S.Katz ]
When we have a desire to pursue something outside the will of God we submit to the animal passions within ourselves. We become self determined. The words of the bible state that one defiles oneself and makes your soul an abomination. Lest you become “contaminated” through them…“ruined”. Our morality is weakened by ‘eating’ outside the will of God, is eating about pleasure or sanctification? Is it about surviving or knowing what man truly ‘lives upon’? (EVERY word that comes from the Mouth of Hashem.)
The Altar = The Table. The Temple =The home.
Just as in the Temple here were acceptable offerings and method of bringing, in the home of a member of God’s covenant people, there is an acceptable diet and method of eating. In the garden, the ‘sin’ involved Chavah, the mother of life, the evil tongue (lashan) of the serpent, eating, taking, crossing boundaries, upsetting God’s requested structure for the ideal and Holy existence in daily living. When the boundaries are defined by Hashem, they are only for good. When we cross these lines we purchase a ticket for the train to exile and the negative separation from God that forever mankind will seek to breach and rectify.
#914 (v) badal בָּדַל – to separate, distinguish, to SELECT, to be secluded, to shut out.
- B’reshit 1:4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
- Sh’mot 26:33“You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies.
- Vayikra 11:47 to make a distinction between the unclean and the clean, and between the edible creature and the creature which is not to be eaten.
- Vayikra 20:26 ‘Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
In connection with what we put into our souls, our systems, our Temples…we read this week in the Parashiot of Tazria/Metzora about Tsara’at and the direct connection to Lashan ha ra. Indeed, it is not hard to see that in connection to the “forbidden eating”in the garden was the ‘evil tongue’ of the snake and a breach of boundaries. Therefore, side by side with these instructions regarding the Tsara’at affliction is a seemingly ‘out of place’ section regarding the woman who gives birth (another tie to Chavah in the garden- whose consequence for her ‘sin’ in eating the mixed fruit, was that she would bear children in pain) and her period of separation. First let us get an understanding of what Lashan ha ra is.
#6879 (v) tsara צָרַע- to scourge, i.e. (intransitive and figurative) to be stricken with leprosy:—leper, leprous.
#6883 (fem n) tsara’at צָרַעַת- “leprosy” * Translated leprosy but please note WELL, Tsara’at is NOT Leprosy. Tsara’at is a biblical disease, administered by Hashem. (Remember, like ‘Kosher’, this is NOT a medical issue.) Tsara’at is not contagious or medical it is a spiritual “judgment” manifested in physical form. The Metsorah (person afflicted with tsara’at) doesn’t go to a physician, he is ‘seen’ by the Kohen. Tsara’at can afflict the human skin, human hair, but also vessels, clothing and even buildings (houses). There is HUGE spiritual significance to this and we will, bezrat Hashem, study it more next week.
[Two biblical verifications for the connection between Lashan ha ra and Tsara’at are as follows: Shemot 4; 1Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you.’” 2 The LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.” 3Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4But the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5“that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”6The LORD furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous מְצֹרַ֥עַת like snow. 7 Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like his flesh.
- When Moshe doubts the people and ‘speaks ill of them’, assuming to know what they will do and making an accusation about their integrity, God give Moshe these signs. Fascinating that the first reminds them of the serpent in the garden (with his evil tongue) and the second is that Moshe’s hand even becomes afflicted with tsara’at. When he places the affliction ‘over his heart’ it becomes healed.
Bemidbar 12; 12 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses… 2 and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) 4 Suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam…“Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. 7 “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant, against Moses?”…10…behold, Miriam was leprous מְצֹרַעַת, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was מְצֹרָֽעַת leprous.…15 So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.
- When Mirjam speaks ‘ill’ of Moshe, her consequence is the tsara’at affliction and removal from the camp for seven days. God explains- not all “words or sayings” are the same. Not all revelation and prophecy is the same. NO ONE received prophecy in the way that Moshe did and there is nothing of its like ever since. (Iteration of the value of the word of the Torah)]
The Hebrew term lashon hara (לשון הרע; “evil tongue”) is the term for derogatory speech about another person. Lashon hara differs from defamation in that its focus is on the use of true speech for a wrongful purpose, rather than falsehood and harm arising.
Speech is considered to be lashon hara if it says something negative about a person or party, is not previously known to the public, is not seriously intended to correct or improve a negative situation, and is true. Statements that fit this description are considered to be lashon hara, regardless of the method of communication that is used, whether it is through face-to-face conversation, a letter, telephone, or email, or even body language.
Lashon hara (“evil tongue”) is considered to be a very serious sin.The communicator of Lashon Hara violates the prohibition of “Lo telech rachil b’ameicha- You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord.” Vayikra 19:16
Hotzaat shem ra (“spreading a bad name”), also called hotzaat diba, or motzi shem ra (“putting out a bad name”) consists of untrue remarks, and is best translated as “slander” or “defamation” (calumny). Hotzaat shem ra is worse, and consequentially an even graver sin, than lashon hara. And the act of gossiping is called rechilut, and is also forbidden by halakha.
Every kind of trafficking in evil report or rumors—whether true or not—by carrying them from one person to another, or by relating unpleasant or harmful facts about another, is forbidden.
Slandering, is like the murder of a reputation…the sages teach Lashan ha ra is like unto murder.
Mishlei 18; 20 With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips. 21Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Mishlei 6; 12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth, 13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers;14 who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife.15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing. 16 There are six things which the Lord hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. 20 My son, observe the commandment of your father and do not forsake the teaching of your mother; 21 Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk to you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching (Torah) is light….
Matthew 15; 1Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Yeshua from Yerushalayim and asked, 2“Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 Yeshua replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?10 Yeshua called the crowd to Him and said, “Listen and understand. 11A man is not defiled by what enters his mouth, but by what comes out of it.”12Then the disciples came to Him and said, “Are You aware that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?” 13 But Yeshua replied, “Every plant that My Heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by its roots. 14 Disregard them! They are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” 15Peter said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16“Do you still not understand?” Yeshua asked. 17“Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. 20 These are what defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile him.”
It does matter what goes into our Temples, but perhaps the best question is why does it matter? We fuel ourselves in order to live and work for Him, His Kingdom on earth – here and now. Our nourishment is for the sole reason of functioning for His accomplishment and for the encouragement of our brethren. Building.
Mishlei 21; 23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles. 24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, who acts with insolent pride. 25The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, for his hands refuse to work; 26All day long he is craving, while the righteous gives and does not hold back. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent! 28 A false witness will perish, but the man who listens to the truth will speak forever. 29 A wicked man displays a bold face, but as for the upright,he makes his way sure.
(read all of Perek יב )
Vayikra 12;1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying: ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean. 3 On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 Then she shall remain in the blood of her purification for thirty-three days; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are completed.
#2893 (fem n) taharah טָהֳרָה – purification, cleansing.
Ezekiel 44;26 “After he is cleansed, seven days shall elapse for him.” (For the ‘consecration’ of the Kohanim)
Vayikra 13:7 “But if the scab spreads farther on the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again to the priest.
# 2892 (masc. n) tohar טֹהַר- brightness, purification, splendor.
# 2891 (v) taher טָהֵר- to become clean or pure, to declare, to be cleansed.
Vayikra 12;7 ‘Then he shall offer it before the LORD and make atonement for her, and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, whether a male or a female.
Bezrat Hashem we will come together again to learn about the stunning spiritual message we learn from the metsora and his exclusion from the camp and then reunion with his community. We will learn about the intriguing connection between the “purification” of the metsora and the “consecration” of the kohanim. But for now, let us consider this woman. Why is she mentioned right after the dietary laws (think on Chavah and the garden), why is she mentioned before the tsara’at affliction and its numerous, detailed verses (think on the serpent and lash an ha ra). The whole concept of clean and unclean, pure or defiled is in relation to the presence of Hashem and the Mishkan. The place of Worship, the sanctity of the space. When a person became ‘defiled’ by contact with the carcass of an unclean animal he was not to come near “the Place” until he did a mikveh and became “cleansed” overnight. With any contact with the dead, if a woman was menstruating, or a man had a seminal emission there became the necessity for a certain distance…the person was to wait until their natural ‘animal’ circumstance had been acknowledged, attended to, and they did go under the water (mikveh- ceremonial ‘washing’) in order to become cleansed before approaching Hashem in His appointed place, in the appointed manner. The person was not ‘bad’ because of these things, the person had not sinned necessarily but there was a need for distance for a period of time. Taher- from above is one term we need to know and will use often. Taher means ‘clean’.
The other term is: #2930 (v) tameh טָמֵא- to pollute, defile, profane.
Vayikra 11:32 ‘Also anything on which one of them may fall when they are dead becomes unclean, including any wooden article, or clothing, or a skin, or a sack—any article of which use is made—it shall be put in the water and be unclean until evening, then it becomes clean.
#2923 (Fem n) ta’mah טָמְאָה (toomah)- uncleanness, pollution.
Vayikra 7:21 ‘When anyone touches anything unclean, whether human uncleanness, or an unclean animal, or any unclean detestable thing, and eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of peace offerings which belong to the LORD, that person shall be cut off from his people.’”
טָמְאָה is not a physical condition attaching to physical properties, it is an abstract concept to be negated in all phases of human life, and the utensils do represent such phases: a chest is an object in which to keep one’s material possessions; a tool is an article with which creative work can be performed; a pot is a vessel in which food can be prepared for nourishment and pleasure,etc. These symbolize activities which compliment the human personality, choice, and our relation to everyday life. We are meant to be intentional in the way we handle our “possessions” and our activities for work and pleasure to employ our energies to keep these abilities free from all moral impurity so that we may utilize our energies to accomplish the objectives set out for us by the Sanctuary and its holy things. – Hirsch, Pentateuch.
Boundaries are Godly.
Separation (which by definition means Holiness) is beautiful!
The woman sits in the damam (dam- blood; damam-silence, like Aaron’s silence)
of her PURITY. Note this! (It doesn’t say in the blood of her filthiness….)
‘The Silence of her purity.’
This woman, she is ‘out of this world’. No one can be around her. Why?
Because everything else in this world is a let down.
Even the beis hamikdash (Holy Temple) isn’t high enough for her
because of what she just experienced!!!
When you give birth you’re not just close to God, you’re godly….
One doesn’t want to come to the beis hamikdash to get ‘let down’.
The most godly thing you could do in this world (give birth) is the MOST PHYSICAL!!
Luke 2; 21When the eight days until His circumcision had passed, He was named Yeshua, the name the angel had given Him before He had been conceived. 22 And when the time of purification according to the Law of Moses was complete, His parents brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every firstborn male shall be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer the sacrifice specified in the Law of the Lord: “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 The Holy Spirit had revealed to him that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Led by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. And when the parents brought in the child Yeshua to do for Him what was customary under the Law, 28 Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29“Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss Your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” 33The Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was spoken about Him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to His mother Mary: “Behold, this Child is appointed to cause the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed— and a sword will pierce your soul as well.” 36There was also a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who was well along in years. She had been married for seven years, 37and then was a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming forward at that moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When Yeshuas’ parents had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong. He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.
#6189 arel עָרֵל- uncircumcised.
B’reshit 17:14 “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”
Sh’mot 6:12 But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”
Yirmeyahu 6;10 To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it.
Last week in Parasha Shemini (eighth) we read about sons who stepped over the boundaries Hashem set out, to send a mixed message about approaching Hashem. This week we read about this woman who is given the sacred space and time in order to draw close to Hashem through the blood of her purity with the new life she partnered with Hashem to ‘Create’. She came very close to death (because there is the risk involved) in order to bring this child into the world. The metsorah is also like unto someone who has been ‘in touch with death’ because of his isolation (even the description of him speaks of death). On the 8th day, two sons drew close and died. On the 8th day if the metsora is cleared by the Kohen he is able to find his life again and rejoin his community. On the 8th day the male child undergoes circumcision. This is a declaration that the boundaries WILL be set by God in his life. That his potential for life will not be dependent upon the flesh but by Hashem. This sign is his banner of partnership with Hashem and the enjoinment into His covenant. Like with what goes into our bodies (which only we can choose and only Hashem can see), circumcision is an outward sign meant to promote and eventually prove an inward determination (circumcision of the heart) which will be evident by the way every being relates to Hashem in EVERY aspect of his life. All of these concepts teach us- God is in control of life. We can become the sign, and testimony to this truth when we also circumcise our EARS, lips and learn guard our tongues from uncleanliness. When we use our speech and all vessels of life for service of Hashem and His Kingdom, our community, those probing and seeking what it means to be Holy as Hashem is Holy, and all who house the tselem elohim. (Image of God)
Vayikra13; 13 ..then the kohen shall look, and behold, if the tsara’at has covered all his body, he shall pronounce clean (taher) him who has the infection (nega נֶ֫גַע) ; it has all turned white and he is clean (taher).
- Look at how close these two Hebrew words are in spelling, עֹ֫נֶג oneg: daintiness, exquisite delight. נֶ֫גַע nega: a stroke, plague, mark.
- קינות Kinnot is the Hebrew word for dirges or elegies to mourn the destruction of the Temple’s. Look at how close that word is to Tikkun תיקון, which means rectification.
Remember that every challenge is an opportunity to be made stronger; every pain is the chance to find healing; every sorrow has the potential for eventual joy. When Hashem removes us from our bondage to sin and self there is yet a further way in which to journey. Not only does He wish to take us out from mitsrayim but He intends to take us UP from that which constricts and presses down upon us. The reason for the redemption from Egypt was to take His people to Sinai to recieve the Torah. The marriage at Sinai becomes a partnership with God and we are able to declare “we will do it, and as you reveal it we will understand more and more…” As we are walking toward Sinai, from Pesach to Shavuot, we are moving farther away from mitsrayim (& slave mentality), and bezrat Hashem UP in character and moral refinement. The fact that we are reading these parashiot about boundaries,standards, discernments, obedience, community, sanctity…now- is a timely reality I pray will not be lost upon us. The year of Jubilee which meant Freedom for all ‘slaves’, complete freedom from all debts and burdens was in the 50th year. As we count with the Omer toward the 7 complete weeks between Pesach and Shavuot we realize that there…on the 50th day, we recieve the Torah and true freedom. (Cherut- freedom, Charut- engraved…as in the tablets of stone). May you be blessed in the silence and become a sign of honor to Hashem with every word, every deed, every thought, and every moment of your life.
So may it be, that in all things we declare: God is in control of my Life!
Resources: See homepage and My Resources entry for links I use in study and lessons. Much of this entry was inspired and came from Rabbi David Forhman of Alephbeta.org, Rabbi Shlomo Katz http://www.shlomokatz.com/, Ari Kahn http://arikahn.blogspot.co.il/, and Rabbi Chaim Richman of https://www.templeinstitute.org/.