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Parashah 27 Tazria

Leviticus 12:1 – 13:59

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted.  

Torah Readings (when Tazría is read separately):

  1. 12:1 – 13:5

  2. 13:6-17

  3. 13:18-23

  4. 13:24-28

  5. 13:29-37

  6. 13:38-54

  7. 13:55-59

  8. Maftir: 13:57-59


means “she conceives”


12:2 “Speak to the children of Yisra'el, saying, ‘If a woman conceives, and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her monthly period she shall be unclean.’”(HNV) – Conceiving is not the same thing as giving birth. Conception happens normally 38 weeks before a normal birth. The moment of conception is very important for the future of the child. If the parents are having intercourse in the fear of God and purity, the child will be conceived in the fear of God and purity. If a parent has sexual lust at the moment of conception, then that spirit can be transferred to the child. That means that the child most likely will have difficulties to properly control his sexual urges. Therefore it is written in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5,

For this is the will of God: your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel in consecration and honor, not in the passion of lust, even as the gentiles who don’t know God”(HNV revised)

The word “vessel” is referring to the body. In this case it is probably talking about the body of the wife. It is important that the wife is treated with sanctity and honor, without sexual lust, not like the pagans who are not able to control their lower urges.

The word “lust”, as we are talking about it here, does not have to do with the natural and clean sexual urges that produce stimulation during intercourse. This is something that HaShem has placed in man and it is an important ingredient in a normal sexual relationship within the framework permitted by the Torah, i.e. within the marriage covenant. The Torah is not opposed to the enjoyment of life. On the contrary, we are encouraged to enjoy that which HaShem has created and which we have a right to partake of within the laws he has established, as it is written in 1 Timothy 6:17b,

God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”(HNV revised)

In Proverbs 5:15-19, it is written,

Drink water out of your own cistern, running water out of your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, streams of water in the public squares? Let them be for yourself alone, not for strangers with you. Let your spring be blessed. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe and a graceful deer— let her breasts satisfy you at all times. Be captivated always with her love.”(HNV)

Here HaShem encourages man to rejoice over the wife of his youth, to be satisfied by her breasts and to constantly be captivated by her love. There is nothing unclean or profane in the sexual joy and “captivation” of a normal sex life within the framework of the marriage covenant. It is good and healthy for a man to be married and to enjoy intercourse; not only for the purpose of producing children, but also in order to enjoy the good gifts of this life that HaShem gives to his beloved created beings.

In Song of Songs 4:16 – 5:1, it is written,

Awake, north wind; and come, you south; blow on my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and taste his precious fruits. I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride. I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, friends! Drink, yes, drink abundantly, beloved.”(HNV)

In this passage we see that the wife prays that the north and south winds would blow through her garden which symbolizes her body. Verse one ends with a phrase that seems to be coming directly from HaShem in heaven, who is a present witness of the intimate relationship of spouses. He calls them friends and encourages them to eat, drink, and be captivated by love.

These are some examples, which show how HaShem looks positively upon a healthy sex life within marriage. When we speak about lust, it has to do with a perversion of love, or rather, it has nothing to do with love at all but with egotistic desires. Love is the opposite of lust. Love gives and receives in an unselfish manner. Lust is a selfish desire that only seeks to satisfy selfish demands no matter what the other person thinks or feels. Lust and enjoyment are not the same things. Lust and a sexual urge are not the same things. Lust is a perverted and filthy sexual urge, a sick greediness that selfishly takes in order to fill an inner bottomless pit that can never be satisfied. Love is grateful whether it receives much or little. Lust is never satisfied, see Jude 16.

Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry”(HNV)

In Titus 3:3, it is written,

For we were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.”(HNV)

When we say that children are negatively affected if they are conceived through lust, we are talking about the evil lust that has its root in the evil nature, see John 8:44. It may be hard for an unspiritual person to tell the difference between clean passion and unclean lust, but if you are conscious of the fact that HaShem is present and sees when you have intimate relations, and if you can praise him for the good things you experience together, then you can be sure that fleshly lust does not have the upper hand. If you want to hide from HaShem and disconnect from him in order to give yourself over to unclean sexual desires, then you can be sure that you are being led by lust. It is a good idea to pray to HaShem before intimate relations and to thank him afterward for all the good you have partaken of. Then you fulfill the word in Colossians 3:17 that says,

Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.”(HNV revised)

 If HaShem is not involved in your intimate life, it is a sign that it is unclean. If your intimate life is one of purity and consecration, the Father’s Spirit will be there, saying, “Eat, friends! Drink, yes, drink abundantly, beloved.”

 After giving birth to a son, the woman remains ritually unclean, in Hebrew tameh, in the same way and for the same amount of time as during her menstrual period. The Hebrew word that is translated “monthly period” is nidah,[1] which means “uncleanness”, “menstruation”, and comes from the root nadad,[2] which means “stray”, “err”, “flee”, “distance oneself”, “move”. That means that the nidah time is a time when the woman distances herself from her husband in order to be healed of her internal wound.

According to the Torah, this period of time lasts for seven days, see Leviticus 15:19. After the nidah-time, she dips herself in a purification bath in order to be able to reunite with her husband.

When a boy is born, the mother is nidah for the first seven days after the delivery. The day of the delivery is counted as the first day, even if there would be only one hour left before sunset. At the end of the seventh day, she dips herself in a mikveh in order to become ritually clean. According to pharisaical tradition, she may then be reunited with her husband. The Sadducees and the Karaites, however, do not agree with this pharisaical interpretation. They teach that she may not be reunited with her husband until another thirty-three days have passed.

12:3 “In the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.”(HNV) – Circumcision always happens on the same day of the week as the birth. If the baby is born on Shabbat, then he is circumcised on Shabbat. If the birth takes place on the third day of the week, Tuesday, then the circumcision will be on the third day of the week, and so on. Circumcision is the sign of the covenant between HaShem and the descendants of Avraham, as it is written in Genesis 17:11-13

You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin. It will be a token of a covenant between me and you. He who is eight days old will be circumcised among you, every male throughout your generations, he who is born in the house, or bought with money of any foreigner who is not of your seed. He who is born in your house, and he who is bought with your money, must be circumcised. My covenant will be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.”(HNV)

Leviticus twelve confirms, through Moshe, the covenant that was given to the patriarchs, as it is written in John 7:22,

Moshe has given you circumcision, not that it is of Moshe, but of the fathers, and on the Shabbat you circumcise a boy.”(HNV)

Circumcision does not originate from the time of Moshe, but from the time the patriarchs. Moshe could not do away with that which had been established earlier. The covenant of the circumcision could not be done away with through the Sinai covenant. In the same way, the new covenant cannot do away with, or change, an earlier covenant. A latter covenant is always based on an earlier covenant. Each new covenant that is made, confirms previous covenants and adds something more to consecrate the people. This teaches us that the new covenant in the blood of the Messiah cannot do away with previous covenants. The new covenant came with new things that enabled the people to come up to a higher level of consecration and power.

Biologically speaking, the eighth day is the best time to circumcise a boy. On that day the blood has the greatest ability to coagulate. That also means that every boy has experienced at least one Shabbat before he enters into the covenant of circumcision. If a Jewish boy is not circumcised, then the covenant with Avraham is broken. In order to be a Jew, one must be circumcised in the flesh. Men are called to serve HaShem in a different way than women. Therefore it is important that a male child enters into the ministry unto HaShem as quickly as possible. Through brit milah, the covenant of circumcision, he receives a mark on his body as a sign of his responsibility to come before HaShem throughout his whole life, as it is written in Exodus 23:17,

Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord HaShem.”(HNV revised)

12:4 “She shall continue in the blood of purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed.”(HNV revised) – In spite of having purified herself in a mikveh at the end of seven days, she is not ritually clean at the sunset of that day, but only at sunset of the fortieth day, if she has borne a son. From the forty-first day and on, she may enter the temple and touch or eat that which is consecrated. Here we can see what is forbidden when one is tameh. One may not touch that which is consecrated, such as for example terumot or peace offerings. Neither may one enter the temple. One may not eat the Passover lamb in Yerushalayim while being tameh.

This text teaches us that even though there might be additional blood during the thirty-three days of purification, no days need to be added to the forty days. The law that an extra week must be added if there is additional blood flow beyond the nidah-week that applies for menstruation does not apply here. When we get to chapter fifteen, we will see more details.

12:5 “But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her period; and she shall continue in the blood of purification sixty-six days.”(HNV) – The nidah time and the tameh time are twice as long when a girl is born. The Torah does not explain why it is this way.

HaShem marks the difference between men and women. Modern man tries to remove that difference and believes that equality is the same thing as removing all differences. When the woman receives more time for recovery after the birth of a girl, it does not mean that either man or woman is discriminated against. It is on account of something else, something that is not written in the Torah. One thing remains true however, and that is that all commandments were given in man’s best interest, and that means that we must accept this truth without completely understanding why it is this way.

In any case, we can see some things that might shed light on why this difference exists. Modern child psychology has revealed that girls have a stronger need to be with their mother during the time right after birth than a boy has. This means that one of the reasons this command is given is to make sure that female infants receive a healthy psychological development. This might possibly be true for the mother as well.

Boys and girls need to establish their gender identities as men and women. Therefore a boy needs his father in order to identify with him and develop properly. A girl has the same need of her mother. The gender identity of a boy is confirmed as he identifies with his father, and the same is true for a girl as she identifies with her mother. A boy who grows up without a father may run the risk of becoming homosexual, and a girl who grows up without a mother will run the same risk. A father ought to embrace his son in order to fill the son’s emotional need. If a boy is not embraced by his father, his soul will have a vacuum. This can lead him to seek other men to fill that vacuum. This way he is tempted to become homosexual. The presence of both parents is crucial in order for the character of a child to be developed properly. This is one of the reasons that HaShem hates divorce, see Malachi 2:16.

Once the gender identity has been confirmed within the child, that child will be attracted to the opposite gender, which is a completely normal development. That is why we can see boys, when they are a few years old, developing special relationships with their mothers. The same thing will happen between girls and their fathers. This is a natural way for them to prepare for future marriage.

This difference between men and women is part of humanity. A boy ought to learn to be masculine and a girl to be feminine. The elimination of the differences between man and woman will finally result in the destruction of mankind. The lifestyle of Sedom and Amorah is coming back and is increasingly taking more territory in the world during these last days, see Luke 17:28-30. HaShem has created the difference between men and women, and the positive tension that comes from that difference is good and necessary in order for a family and a community to thrive. A boy must learn to live with this tension through his relationship with his mother, and a girl with her father. Men and women are different, but they need each other in order to function properly; HaShem made us men and women. The man-woman relationship is what enables every individual to function properly. The absence of one parent distorts this learning process in children.

The first six years are foundational for every child’s psychological development. Both boys and girls need their mother during this time. If the mother is absent, the soul of the child will be affected negatively. If a mother leaves her child to be cared for by others for long periods of time, the soul of the child will be harmed as it develops. The mother has been equipped as the best person to care for her children, especially during their first years of life. Interaction with the father is also an important condition for the proper development of children. However, during the first years of life, it is especially the mother’s presence that will create the foundational trust needed in order to function in relation to the heavenly Father. Through the mother, children will learn the gentleness of HaShem, as it is written in Isaiah 66:10-13,

Rejoice you with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn over her; that you may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that you may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus says HaShem, Behold, I will extend shalom to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream: and you shall suck of it; you shall be borne on the side, and shall be dandled on the knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”(HNV revised)

Through their mother’s care, children learn that HaShem loves, cares for, nurtures, satisfies, and most of all, is present in their lives. A good mother is always watching out for the wellbeing of her children. A normal mother cannot forget her child, as it is written in Isaiah 49:15,

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”(HNV)

The awareness of HaShem’s presence is established through the mother in the early part of a child’s life. If the mother is not there constantly, the child’s comprehension of HaShem’s presence will be damaged. It is not good to let a child cry himself to sleep alone in the crib. A child needs to know that mom or dad is always there, even if they are not in the same room. The impression of loneliness during the first years of life is devastating. The constant presence of parents teaches a child that HaShem is always present with us, everywhere, always guarding and searching, as it is written in Hebrews 4:13,

There is no creature that is hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”(HNV)

Hagar, the Egyptian, had not learned this lesson from her mother. Therefore she was surprised to find that HaShem was present and saw her at all times, as it is written in Genesis 16:13,

She called the name of HaShem who spoke to her, ‘You are an God who sees,’ for she said, ‘Have I even stayed alive after seeing him?’”(HNV revised)

If mom or dad is absent during the first year of the life of a child, that child will not easily be aware of the fact that the eyes of HaShem are always watching. In recent generations, women of modern society have left their children in daycares starting at a very early age. These mothers do this so that they can earn money and have material things, which to them are much more important than spending time with their children. This lack of responsibility has produced generations of children who are not aware of the presence of HaShem in their lives. They are empty. They will experience difficulties in developing a personal relationship with God. In their minds, God is too far away to be able to communicate with them. And even if he could, he is still not interested in the personal life of a teenager. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This emotional vacuum was produced by the absence of their mother during the earliest years of their lives.

Right now we are living in a time when all things will be restored. We must come back to these truths so that our future children will not be easy bait for the anti-messiah and the false prophet who soon will rise up on the world arena in order to deceive and attract those who are not aware of HaShem’s presence in their lives.

There are several other aspects of HaShem’s character that children learn as babies from their mother. Through the mother primarily, a child learns the compassion of HaShem. Through the father primarily, a child learns the righteousness of God, his standards, the consequences of sin, etc. Both parents are needed in order for children to know HaShem in their childhood, before they can understand the Scriptures. Parents live out HaShem’s character toward their children. The roll of parents reflects HaShem in the lives of children, as it is written in Ephesians 6:4,

You fathers, don’t provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”(HNV)

HaShem is the example that parents ought to follow when they raise their children. Whatever He does with his children is what parents ought to do with their children, as it is written in Hebrews 12:7-10,

It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with children, for what son is there whom his father doesn’t discipline? But if you are without discipline, whereof all have been made partakers, then are you illegitimate, and not children. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed, for a few days, punished us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his sanctity.”(HNV revised)

12:6 “When the days of her purification are completed, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the door of the Tent of Meeting, a year old lamb for a ascension offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering”(HNV revised) – The mother must come to the temple after she has given birth. If a son was born, she needs to come at some point after the 41st day from the time of the birth. If her child is a daughter it is from the 81st day that she can come. She must offer two animals, one as an ascension offering and one as a sin offering, olah and chatat.

The olah offering symbolizes complete dedication. This teaches us, first of all, that the mother has the possibility to renew her dedication to HaShem through this offering. Even though a child has been born to her, she must continue to live for HaShem. The birth of a child is one of the things that will make the greatest impression on the life of a woman. It would be easy for her to forget her relationship with HaShem. It is easy for the child to take HaShem’s place in her life and become the most important thing to her. It is easy for her to forget her heavenly Father. It is at this time that she needs to confirm that the birth of her child is a fulfillment of HaShem’s calling for her. It is HaShem who wants her to have children. To the extent that she dedicates herself to Him, she will be able to raise her children in the right way, according to His will.

On the other hand, the olah offering means that the child is dedicated to HaShem. Children do not belong to their parents. They belong to the Father of spirits. The parents have been given the responsibility of raising the children in HaShem’s way, for they were born for Him, as it is written in Malachi 2:15,

Did he not make one, although he had the residue of the Spirit? Why one? He sought a seed belonging to God. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.”(HNV revised)

HaShem wants a seed that belongs to Him. He wants many children. Parents are to cooperate with Him so that He can have many children. By doing this they fulfill His desire. Children do not belong to their parents; they belong to HaShem. The olah offering that the mother must present represents this truth. When she offers olah, she not only dedicates herself to HaShem, but her child as well.

a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering” – Why did the woman have to bring a sin offering? In what way had she sinned? There are several answers:

  1. It is possible that she uttered things that were evil during her labor, and therefore she needed a sin offering. (Shimon bar Yochai)

  2. Since she had gone through a test, she needed to atone for her sins. Everyone sins during a time of testing. (Abarbanel)

  3. Sin entered the world through woman, and through the sin offering, this is atoned for. (Bechai)

  4. The whole reproductive process was damaged when sin entered the world. Any birth after the fall is not as it should be. The pain of birth is a result of Chavah’s sin, see Genesis 3:16. The conception and birth of any child takes place in a world full of sin, as it is written in Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me.” The yetzer ha-rah is passed on to the child at the moment of conception. This is an inheritance of sin. Because of this being passed over to the child, guilt rests on the mother, and she must therefore present a sin offering.

  5. During the time that a child is in its mother’s womb, things that have their foundation in sin, such as an inferiority complex or rejection, can be passed on to the child. No woman can give birth to a child that is and without sin. She must therefore give this offering since she has brought a sinful being into this world, and that is not as HaShem made it in the beginning.

The Birth of Yeshua

·         Circumcision, on the eighth day.

In Luke 2:21, it is written,

When eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the child, his name was called Yeshua, which was given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”(HNV)

Yeshua was circumcised on the eighth day. Here we see that he received the name Yeshua in connection with the circumcision, see Genesis 17:5, 10. This Jewish custom, which is still practiced today, is not mentioned in Talmud. It is, however, mentioned in the Royal Code, see Luke 1:59.

  • The redemption of the first born son, after a month, see Exodus 13:1, 12; 22:29; 34:19-20; Numbers 3:12-13; 18:15-16.

In Luke 2:22b-23, it is written,

they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord, as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called consecrated to HaShem’”(HNV revised)

The ransom amount for a firstborn boy is five shekels. This could be paid from the time that the child was thirty days old. It is possible that Yosef paid this ransom amount thirty days after the birth of Yeshua. It is more likely, however, that both of these things, the redemption of the first born son, in Hebrew pidiyon ha-ben, and the mother’s offering, happened on the same day, the forty-first day after the birth.

The reason behind the ransom amount was that all the firstborn belong to HaShem as priests. Besides that, the firstborn of Israel were also set apart when all the firstborn of Egypt were killed by the angel of destruction. A lamb was slaughtered just before the exodus from slavery so that the firstborn of Israel could be spared. At that time, HaShem consecrated all the firstborn of Israel unto himself. However, on account of the sin with the golden calf, the firstborn lost their right to be priests. This right was transferred to the Levites. In spite of that, the firstborn sons still belong to HaShem in a special way. Therefore, they must be presented to Him in the temple one month after birth. Then they can be redeemed and may return with their parents.

If Israel had not sinned with the golden calf, Yeshua would have been one of the priests in the temple in Jerusalem.

  • The mother’s purification, after forty days.

In Luke 2:22, it is written,

When the days of their purification according to the law of Moshe were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord”(HNV)

After forty days, Miryam was ritually clean and was able to enter the temple. Here it mentions “their purification”. The Torah does not teach that the child must be purified after its birth. It was only the mother that needed to be purified. What does “their purification” mean then?

It could be that in this expression Luke included the ritual of the son’s redemption. However, it is possible that it is not a reference to the child, but to Yosef. He must have purified himself in Yerushalayim. In order to enter the temple, everyone must be purified. It is therefore possible that this text is referring to the fact that Yosef and Miryam purified themselves before they entered the temple to present their son before HaShem.

·         The mother’s offering, presented after forty days.

It was normal for a woman to give a lamb as olah and a bird as chatat, but if she did not have enough means to give a lamb, she could give two birds, as it is written in Leviticus 12:8,

If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”(HNV revised)

In Luke 2:24, it is written,

and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, ‘A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.’”(HNV)

This text shows us that Yosef and Miryam did not have enough money to offer a lamb. The wonderful thing about it is that they already had a “Lamb”. That Lamb was now presented to HaShem and redeemed. Therefore they did not need any other lamb, but only a bird that symbolized the complete dedication of the mother and son to HaShem.

As far as I understand, Miryam did not transfer any yetzer ha-rah in the common way to Yeshua, as it is written in Romans 8:3,

For what the law couldn’t do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for a sin offering, he condemned sin in the flesh”(HNV)

Yeshua did not have “sinful flesh”. He did not have any sin, any activated yetzer ha-rah, in his flesh. Miryam gave birth to a body that was “in the likeness of sinful flesh”, but was not “sinful flesh”, only its likeness. Yeshua did not have a glorified body as Adam did before he fell.

In Matthew 13:43, it is written,

Then the righteous will shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”(HNV)

Yeshua did not shine when he was born, even though he was Righteous.

12:8 “If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for a ascension offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.”(HNV revised) – This text teaches us that Miryam, Yeshua’s mother, had sin. The myth about the immaculate conception of the so-called “virgin Mary” does not have any Scriptural foundation. We can mention several other texts, which say that Yeshua’s mother had sins and that she needed forgiveness for them:

In Luke 1:47, it is written,

My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.”(HNV revised)

She needed a savior so that she would not die in her sins. She needed her heavenly Father to save her. The Scriptures teach that “virgin Mary” needed salvation. If she was conceived immaculately, she would not have needed a Savior, because she would have been complete, without sin.

In Mark 3:21, 31-35, it is written,

"When his relatives heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, ‘He is insane.’… His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, ‘Behold, your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you.’… He answered them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Behold, my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.’”(HNV revised)

At this occasion, Miryam considered Yeshua to be insane. Therefore she came with her other sons to “take care of him”. Because of that, at this time, Yeshua did not acknowledge her as his mother. He also said that she was not doing the will of God. This is clear proof that she, during a season of her life, was mistaken concerning her son’s calling, as it is written in Psalm 69:8,

I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s children.”(HNV)

This Psalm is a Messianic prophecy, as we see in verse 9, where it is written,

For the zeal of your house consumes me. The reproaches of those who reproach you have fallen on me.”(HNV)

This verse refers to the Messiah, according to John 2:17 and Romans 15:3, where it is written,

His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will eat me up…’ For even Messiah didn’t please himself. But, as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’”(HNV)

This teaches us that at one point in his life, neither Yeshua’s mother nor his brothers believed in him, see John 7:5.

This Psalm also teaches us that his brothers were his mother’s physical sons, a result of the union between Yosef and Miryam.

13:2 “When a man shall have a rising in his body’s skin, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes in the skin of his body the plague of tzaraat, then he shall be brought to Aharon the priest, or to one of his sons the priests”(HNV revised) – Here the Torah brings in the theme of an uncleanness caused by the affliction called tzaraat. This affliction does not have the same symptoms as the sickness called “leprosy”. Therefore, when the word tzaraat is translated as “leprosy”, the reader is given the wrong idea about what the text is referring to. This is not a question of leprosy, but of something else entirely.

There are two main opinions concerning this affliction. Some claim that it is a disease that has been exterminated. However, the majority of Jewish bible interpreters consider this to be a supernatural affliction that HaShem lays on those who commit certain sins, especially the sin of speaking lashon ha-rah, slander. There are two long chapters describing tzaraat. This teaches us that this subject is very important. There are some other texts in the Scriptures that also mention this affliction. These texts can shed some more light on the reason for its existence.

In Exodus 4:6-7, it is written,

HaShem said furthermore to him, ‘Now put your hand inside your cloak.’ He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow. He said, ‘Put your hand inside your cloak again.’ He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh.”(HNV revised)

Moshe got tzaraat on his hand as a sign. He had spoken lashon ha-rah against the people of Israel and said that they would not believe in him, see Exodus 4:1.

In Numbers 12:1-10, it is written,

Miryam and Aharon spoke against Moshe because of the Kushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Kushite woman. They said, Has HaShem indeed spoken only with Moshe? Hasn’t he spoken also with us? HaShem heard it. Now the man Moshe was very humble, above all the men who were on the surface of the earth. HaShem spoke suddenly to Moshe, and to Aharon, and to Miryam, Come out you three to the tent of meeting. They three came out. HaShem came down in a pillar of cloud, and stood at the door of the Tent, and called Aharon and Miryam; and they both came forth. He said, Hear now my words: if there be a prophet among you, I HaShem will make myself known to him in a vision, I will speak with him in a dream. My servant Moshe is not so; he is faithful in all my house: with him will I speak mouth to mouth, even manifestly, and not in dark speeches; and the form of HaShem shall he see: why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant, against Moshe? The anger of HaShem was kindled against them; and he departed. The cloud removed from over the Tent; and, behold, Miryam was leprous, as white as snow: and Aharon looked at Miryam, and, behold, she was leprous.”(HNV revised)

The Hebrew text shows us that the affliction that came over Miryam was the same as the affliction mentioned in Leviticus 13. HaShem struck Miryam with this affliction because she had spoken ill of Moshe. Here we can see how lashon ha-rah caused this heavenly intervention.

In Deuteronomy 24:8-9, it is written,

Take heed in the plague of leprosy, that you observe diligently, and do according to all that the priests the Levites shall teach you: as I commanded them, so you shall observe to do. Remember what HaShem your God did to Miryam, by the way as you came forth out of Egypt.”(HNV revised)

This text urges us to take this affliction very seriously and to remember what happened to Miryam.

In 2 Chronicles 26:16-19, it is written,

But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up, so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against HaShem his God; for he went into the temple of HaShem to burn incense on the altar of incense. `Azaryah the priest went in after him, and with him eighty priests of HaShem, who were valiant men: and they withstood `Uzziyah the king, and said to him, It pertains not to you, `Uzziyah, to burn incense to HaShem, but to the priests the sons of Aharon, who are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for you have trespassed; neither shall it be for your honor from HaShem God. Then `Uzziyah was angry; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense; and while he was angry with the priests, the leprosy broke forth in his forehead before the priests in the house of HaShem, beside the altar of incense.”(HNV revised)

King Uzziyah was punished because he entered into a priestly ministry that was not meant for him. This teaches us that this affliction will not only strike one who commits the sin of lashon ha-rah, but it can also be for other reasons.

In 2 Kings 5:1-27, it is written,

 Now Na`aman, captain of the host of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him HaShem had given victory to Aram: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. The Aramim had gone out in bands, and had brought away captive out of Eretz-Yisra'el a little maiden; and she waited on Na`aman’s wife. She said to her mistress, Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Shomron! then would he recover him of his leprosy. One went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maiden who is of Eretz-Yisra'el. The king of Aram said, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Yisra'el. He departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of clothing. He brought the letter to the king of Yisra'el, saying, Now when this letter is come to you, behold, I have sent Na`aman my servant to you, that you may recover him of his leprosy. It happened, when the king of Yisra'el had read the letter, that he tore his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man does send to me to recover a man of his leprosy? but consider, I pray you, and see how he seeks a quarrel against me. It was so, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Yisra'el had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Why have you torn your clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Yisra'el. So Na`aman came with his horses and with his chariots, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, Go and wash in the Yarden seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.

But Na`aman was angry, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of HaShem his God, and wave his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Aren’t Amanah and Parpar, the rivers of Dammesek, better than all the waters of Yisra'el? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. His servants came near, and spoke to him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid you do some great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? how much rather then, when he says to you, Wash, and be clean? Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in the Yarden, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh came again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean. He returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him; and he said, See now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Yisra'el: now therefore, please take a present from your servant. But he said, As HaShem lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none. He urged him to take it; but he refused. Na`aman said, If not, yet, please let there be given to your servant two mules’ burden of earth; for your servant will henceforth offer neither burnt offering nor sacrifice to other gods, but to HaShem. In this thing HaShem pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, HaShem pardon your servant in this thing. He said to him, Go in shalom. So he departed from him a little way. But Gechazi the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master has spared this Na`aman the Arammian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: as HaShem lives, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

So Gechazi followed after Na`aman. When Na`aman saw one running after him, he alighted from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? He said, All is well. My master has sent me, saying, Behold, even now there are come to me from the hill-country of Efrayim two young men of the sons of the prophets; please give them a talent of silver, and two changes of clothing. Na`aman said, Be pleased to take two talents. He urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and laid them on two of his servants; and they bore them before him. When he came to the hill, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house; and he let the men go, and they departed. But he went in, and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, Whence come you, Gechazi? He said, Your servant went no where. He said to him, Didn’t my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive groves and vineyards, and sheep and oxen, and men-servants and maid-servants? The leprosy therefore of Na`aman shall cleave to you, and to your seed forever. He went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.”(HNV revised)

This text teaches us that Na’aman, a gentile, had tzaraat. This affliction, therefore, does not only befall the children of Israel, but gentiles as well. Gechazi, Elisha’s servant, lied and stole. Because of these two sins, tzaraat came over him and his children. This teaches us that it does not only afflict those who speak lashon ha-rah, but also those who commit other crimes. Talmud[3] names seven sins that bring tzaraat over the person who does not repent of them: lashon ha-rah, murder, fornication, false oath, arrogance, theft, and greediness.

13:3 “and the priest shall examine the plague in the skin of the body: and if the hair in the plague has turned white, and the appearance of the plague is deeper than the body’s skin, it is the plague of leprosy; and the priest shall examine him, and pronounce him unclean.”(HNV revised) – This affliction has three symptoms:

1.      The hair is white and the afflicted area seems sunken compared to the rest of the skin, verse 3.

2.      It spreads on the skin, verse 7.

3.      There is diseased flesh in the rash, verse 10.

The priests had the authority to declare anyone tameh or tahor, clean or unclean. When someone has this affliction, he is not unclean until the priests declare him unclean. Neither is he clean, until the priests declare him clean. The priests’ words therefore, make the final call about whether someone is tameh or tahor. This declaration by the priests held important social consequences. One who had this affliction could not dwell among others. He had to live alone, outside the camp or town, if it was walled.

According to Maimonides, the purpose of declaring someone tameh was:

  • To distance anything unsanitary.

  • To guard the sanctuary.

  • To prevent the pagan traditions of the sabees concerning this type of uncleanness.

  • To make things easier so that whatever was clean and unclean would not hinder people in their everyday life, since this only concerns the sanctuary and consecrated objects.

13:6 “The priest shall examine him again on the seventh day; and, behold, if the plague has faded, and the plague hasn’t spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. It is a scab. He shall wash his clothes, and be clean.”(HNV revised) – One who was sick needed healing, but one who was afflicted with tzaraat needed cleansing. Even though Moshe prays that HaShem would heal Miryam from this affliction, see Numbers 12:13, the majority of the texts do not refer to being healed from tzaraat, but being made clean or pure, in Hebrew tahor, see 2 Kings 5:10.

In Matthew 8:2-4, it is written,

Behold, a leper came to him and worshiped him, saying, ‘Lord, if you want to, you can make me clean.’ Yeshua stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, ‘I want to. Be made clean.’ Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Yeshua said to him, ‘See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moshe commanded, as a testimony to them.’”(HNV revised)

This text does not talk about being healed from a sickness, but of being cleansed from an affliction called tzaraat. Yeshua did not say, “Be healed” but “Be made clean!” Yeshua did not heal him; he cleansed him. This gives us a hint that this affliction is not like any other sickness, but it is a supernatural affliction, a plague sent from heaven over those who do not repent of their sins in time.

13:12-13 “If the leprosy breaks out all over the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of the infected person from his head even to his feet, as far as it appears to the priest; then the priest shall examine him; and, behold, if the leprosy has covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean of the plague. It has all turned white: he is clean.”(HNV revised) – In Isaiah 1:18, we can find a text that refers to this verse, as it is written,

“’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says HaShem: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”(HNV revised)

This teaches us that tzaraat symbolizes sin. Sin is leprosy of the soul, it is tzaraat of the soul.

13:45-46 “The leper in whom the plague is shall wear torn clothes, and the hair of his head shall hang loose. He shall cover his upper lip, and shall cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ All the days in which the plague is in him he shall be unclean. He is unclean. He shall dwell alone. Outside of the camp shall be his dwelling.”(HNV) – One who was afflicted with this plague could not live among others. If his sin was lashon ha-rah, which concerns social relationships, he could no longer have contact with others. He was forced to live alone. He did not even have the right to fellowship with other unclean people. This way he could no longer sin with his mouth.

In Matthew 26:6, it is written,

Now when Yeshua was in Beit-Anyah, in the house of Shim`on the leper”(HNV)

If a “leper” could not dwell with people, why does this talk about Yeshua being in Shim’on “the leper’s” house? Here are some possible interpretations:

  • Shim’on had had tzaraat before and had been made clean.

  • Shim’on did not live in his house at that time, but alone, outside the city.

  • The translation is not correct. In the Aramaic Bible uses the word garabah, which means “potter” or “craftsman”. The Aramaic word garbah means “leper”. Therefore we can see here that those who translated the text from Aramaic to Greek made a mistake when they understood the work garabah as garbah, potter as leper. A correct translation from the Aramaic would instead be, “Shim’on the potter’s house. This is one of the proofs that show that the original texts of Matthew and Mark (see 14:3) were not written in Greek.

The Torah dedicates a lot of text to describe all the details concerning tzaraat, “leprosy”. Because of this, the sages of our people have made a connection between this affliction and the Messiah. In Talmud[4] it is written:

Rab said: The world was created only on David's account.[5] Samuel said: On Moshe’s account;[6] R. Yohanan said: For the sake of the Messiah. What is his [the Messiah's] name? — The School of R. Shila said: His name is Shiloh, for it is written, until Shiloh comes.[7] The School of R. Yannai said: His name is Yinnon, for it is written, His name shall endure forever:[8] as long as the sun exists, his name is Yinnon.[9] The School of R. Haninah maintained: His name is Haninah, as it is written, Where I will not give you Haninah (grace).[10] Others say: His name is Menachem the son of Chizkiyah, for it is written, Because Menachem ['the comforter'], that would relieve my soul, is far.[11] The Rabbis said: His name is 'the leper scholar,' as it is written, Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God, and afflicted.”[12]

 Whenever the expression “the rabbis say” occurs in the Talmud, it means that whatever followed this expression was an official line of interpretation within rabbinical Judaism at that time. This teaches first of all, that Talmud identifies the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 with the Messiah. Secondly, it brings forth the fact that the Messiah would be a leper, in the sense that he had to carry the diseases and sins of the people.

Who is this Messiah?

His name is Yeshua!

This Parashah contains commandments number 166-172 of the 613 commandments.

  1. The commandment about the ritual uncleanness of a woman after giving birth, Leviticus 12:2, 5.

  2. The prohibition of eating an offering while unclean, Leviticus 12:4.

  3. The command for a woman to sacrifice after giving birth, Leviticus 12:6.

  4. The commandment about uncleanness in one who has the affliction tzaraat (metzorah), Leviticus 13:2.

  5. The prohibition to cut the hair of an afflicted area of one who has netek (unclean scalp), Leviticus 13:33.

  6. The command to tear apart the clothes of one who has tzaraat or any other form of uncleanness, Leviticus 13:45.

  7. The commandment about tzaraat on clothing, Leviticus 13:47.

[1]     Strong H5079 niddâh, nid-daw', From H5074; properly rejection; by implication impurity, especially personal (menstruation) or moral (idolatry, incest): - X far, filthiness, X flowers, menstruous (woman), put apart, X removed (woman), separation, set apart, unclean (-ness, thing, with filthiness).

[2]     Strong H5074 nâdad, naw-dad', A primitive root; properly to wave to and fro (rarely to flap up and down); figuratively to rove, flee, or (causatively) to drive away: - chase (away), X could not, depart, flee (X apace, away), (re-) move, thrust away, wander (abroad, -er, -ing).

[3]     Erachim 15a.

[4]     Sanhedrin 98b.

[5]     For him to sing Psalms to God.

[6]     For him to receives the Torah.

[7]     Genesis 49:10.

[8]     I.e. shall remain.

[9]     Psalm 72:17.

[10]    Jeremiah 16:13. All the schools showed their admiration of their teacher by calling the Messiah after him, using a play on words.

[11]    Lamentations 1:16.

[12]    Isaiah 53:4.