PARASHAT TAZRIA rossh chodesh Nisan

Saturday 2nd April 2022 1st Nisan 5782

PARASHAT TAZRIA Herschel

Rosh Chodesh Nisan - Shabbat HaChodesh

Leviticus 12:1-13:59; 2 Kings 4:42-5:19; Luke 22:1 – 13



This shabbat is the 1st day of the Hebrew month of Nisan i.e this Shabbat is Rosh Chodesh Nissan. And so, this Shabbat is also known as Shabbat HaChodesh the Sabbath of the new moon. And, the month of Nissan is the 1st month of the biblical calendar and on the 14th Nissan, we recount the deliverance from Egypt with the Passover/Pesach seder. Erev Pesach falls on Friday 15th April 2002. The 2nd seder is on Saturday evening, 16th April 2022.

Now, our parasha this Shabbat is called Tazria which means ‘conceives’:

Lev 12:1-4

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If a woman has conceived (tazria),

and borne a male child, ( ishah tazria v’yal’dahzachar) then she shall be

unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be

unclean.

3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

4 She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days.

She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until

the days of her purification are fulfilled.


This Shabbat’s portion – Tazria – and next Shabbat’s portion – Metzora – contain laws that are among the most difficult to understand. They contain the concepts tahor and tamei.

Unclean – tamei - to be ceremonailly or ritually defiled/contaminated


Clean - tahor - to be ceremonially or ritually undefiles/pure


These two concepts occur over 200 times in Torah and we need to grasp their underlying concept in order to make sense of these next few Torah portions.


These two concepts occur over 200 times in Torah and we need to grasp their underlying concept in order to make sense of these next few Torah portions.

It is not the words or the procedures discussed in these two Torah portions that are vague because they are spelt out in great detail. In fact, almost 6 chapters are devoted to spelling all the stipulations to remedy the condition of being tamei – ritually defiled or unclean. Rather, it is the underlying concepts and rationale that is complex and are difficult to grasp from a modern westernized-thinking perspective.


Our launching pad is to be reminded that the primary theme of the book of Leviticus has to do with holiness. God’s Shechinah or glory cloud, dwelt within the midst of the camp of Israel and therefore, how does a sin-contaminated people draw near to a holy and righteous God! Again and again throughout the Tanach, we are instructed to “to be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy”. But, what does this mean? What does holiness look like?

Holiness is simply defined as “to be set apart for a higher or more spiritual purpose”. But hygiene has nothing to do with tahor and tamei, ritually clean or ritually unclean, for they are spiritual not physical, concepts



The laws of ceremonial clean and uncleanness belong to the category of commandments in the Torah known as chukkim—Divine “decrees” for which no reason is given. They are not logically comprehensible. This body of laws is a conundrum; they defy human logic and reason. You just obey because HaShem says obey! The ordinance of the red heifer is a further illustration of a chukkah.


We can logically grasp the laws against murder or gossiping or coveting. That makes sense to us but God’s chukim messes with our minds. I’m reminded of an occasion many years ago when I underwent a medical procedure. The anaesthetist prepared to stck a needle into my hand and said to me “I’m going to mess with your mind”. I said ‘no problem there. Torah has already messed with my mind”!


The Lubavitcher Rebbe in Likkutai Sichot says “that the laws of tahor and tamei (sometimes called tum’ah and taharah) are supra-rational, “above” reason. And it is precisely because they are of such high spiritual level, beyond what intellect can comprehend, that they affect an elevated part of the soul, a part of the soul that transcends reason entirely”.

In essence, “spiritual impurity,” is defined as the “absence of holiness”. This lack of holiness or ritual purity has many causes that is highlighted in our parasha. Some examples of what God says renders someone tamei or ceremonially defiled:

· A woman who is menstruating

· A woman who has given birth to a child

· A man who masturbates

· A skin disease called tzora’at in the bible. This is translated in our

English bibles as leprosy but it is NOT the medical condition called

Hansen’s disease


However, the most defiling of all is coming into contact with a dead body. Why? Because God is the God of life

and death is the very antithesis of Who He is!

Death negates Who God is and His purpose in creation!


Nehemiah 9:6

“You alone are the Lord. You have made the heavens,

The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it,

The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them

And the heavenly host bows down before You.


1 Timothy 6:13

I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things

Rav Sha’ul (Paul) also informs us that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

S

o, death – whether a corpse or sin itself – negates who HaShem is!

Now, many Yeshua (Jesus) believers think that because of Messiah’s atoning death and resurrection, that animal sacrifice is no longer necessary. But remember that all the Apostles still continued with the sacrifices in the Temple even after Yeshua’s ascension. They daily attended the prayer services in the Temple and brought the prerequisite sacrifices. Believers further believe that now that we are “in Christ”, we are now righteous.


This is wonderfully true in the Messiah, but we need to rethink this concept. When we come to faith in Messiah Yeshua, our heavenly status is forever changed. Dr Derek Prince defined ‘justification” as ‘being made righteous in Christ just as if I had never sinned’. A wonderful truth which I call forensic righteous. It is an imputed status.


Our challenge now is to walk in behavioural righteousness. We are imputed with the spiritual condition of being considered righteous but now, we must live and move and have our being as the holy, set apart people of God.

Rabbi Alana Suskin writes, "tahor” and “tamei” - ritually clean and unclean - are best understood as contrasting states in which one is a vessel either for the sacred or for the secular or everyday/common use. Which is precisely what Rav Sha’ul addresses in 2 Timothy 2.


2 Timothy 2:20-22

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay—some for honor and some for common use. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor—sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.


And then, he continues in verse 22 to define what can cause us to become defiled:

Now flee from youthful desires; instead, pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and shalom, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.


Family, we all, at times, miss the mark. We fall short of HaShem’s standard as revealed in Torah. The wages of sin is indeed, death. And, remember Ya’akov (James) word of caution in James chapter 1 –“if you cannot bridle your tongue, your religion is worthless”. Oi vay! Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips!


This call to ‘be holy’, is to accept the yoke of Torah, of being separated, set apart from the common, by being light and salt. It is a daily choice that we make to honour God and to be daily in awe of Him.

This is the choice and decision to walk as a child of light.

It is the conscious decision to do our utmost to leave behind the fragrance of the knowledge of Him in every place we go!

This is what is inferred and required to be truly set apart in His service.


May you and I aspire to walk with Messiah on the narrow way!


Shabbat shalom!