Parashat Tazria (shall conceive) Leviticus 12:1-13:59
Maftir: Exodus 12:1-20
Haftarah: Ezekiel 45:16-46:18
The month of Nissan is a very special month because the Exodus from Egypt took place in it. Passover, the Festival of Redemption, contains great significance; therefore the sages of old mandated that for the Shabbat just prior to Nissan, the entire community should read in addition to the regular Torah reading, the section in the book of Exodus dealing with Passover. Also the reading from the Prophets relates to Passover this Shabbat, rather than to the weekly parasha.
In the parasha one reads that after a woman gives birth, she is ritually unclean. This is due to the blood that accompanies the birth of a child. She is required to bring two offerings in order to respond to her ritual impurity. The first sacrifice is an elevation offering, while the second is a sin offering. Why did HaShem require these offerings, especially the sin offering, when the woman did not necessarily sin? First, one needs to remember that sin does not have to involve some evil action. Sin in its most basic meaning is the opposite of that which is Holy. Hence, because blood is present in a delivery and blood must be respected because of its great spiritual significance, the text is emphasizing that even in a joyful event like the birth of a child one must remember his responsibility to treat blood with the respect it deserves.
It is most significant that the elevation offering is mentioned first. This fact sheds light on why the woman is performing these offerings in the first place— she wants HaShem to be exalted. Among the many things that one can learn from this passage is the Biblical truth that all things which are provided to us are given in order to glorify our L-rd. It is very easy for us to forget this truth, especially when dealing with the birth of a new child. It is not enough that some time during the first few weeks of the birth that we give thanks to HaShem, but that we do so not only in the way that HaShem says, but also at the time that G-d requires. This reminds us that we need to be on His schedule, rather than responding to Him when it is convenient for us.
One should not forget that obeying this commandment involved going to Jerusalem. Certainly traveling at such a time would not be easy, but it manifests one’s commitment to not only HaShem, but even to the things that relate to Him. I think it is very enlightening that Yeshua’s earthly parents, Yoseph and Miryam, demonstrated this type of obedience and commitment to HaShem,
“Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the L–rd, as it is written in the law of the L–rd, ‘Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the L-RD’, and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the L-rd, ‘A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.‘” Luke 2:22-24
These verses reveal that G-d uses the people who are most interested in responding to Him as the Scripture teaches regardless of their personal circumstances.
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