Parashiot Tazria & Metzora (Conceiving and Leprosy) Lev.12:1-15:33

Parashiot  Tazria & Metzora (Conceiving and Leprosy) Lev.12:1-15:33
Maftir: Numbers 28:9-15
Haftarah: Isaiah 66:1-24

This week we read two Torah portions instead of just one.  This Shabbat is also the second day of the Rosh Chodesh (new month) celebration so there is a special reading for the maftir and from the prophets dealing with the new month. The primary issues in the Torah readings are the laws of child birth, leprosy, and sexual purity. The bible speaks a great deal about the importance of being sexually pure. Fornication and adultery are sins which are seen as very severe. Of course it is the same blood of Messiah that causes one to receive the forgiveness of sins no matter what transgression is committed, but one needs to remember Paul’s words,

“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Messiah?  Therefore, should I take the members of Messiah and make them to be members with a prostitute?   G-d  forbid.  Do you not know that one who is joined to a prostitute becomes one with her in body?  For just as it is written, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’  But, the one who is joined to the L-rd is one spirit with Him.  Flee from sexual immorality.  For every other sin that a man does is outside the body, but the one who commits fornication sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in you?  Whom you have received from G-d, for you no longer belong to yourselves.   For with a price, you have been purchased, therefore glorify G-d with your body.”     I Corinthians 6:15-20

Careful study of the Torah readings reveals that there are spiritual factors that are involved in these issues that one cannot see or touch. This is the spiritual contamination or uncleanness. Even though one cannot see or feel this, the effects are nevertheless present and there is no doubt that this issue is important to G-d. There are many factors which relate to sexual purity. In Judaism there is a concept known as “family purity”.  This has to with the biblical and rabbinical laws surrounding a woman’s menstrual cycle. The Torah is clear that it is forbidden to have relations with a woman during this period of time (Lev. 15:19). In parasha Metzora we learn what many of the restrictions are surrounding this issue.

The Torah makes a distinction between a woman who is in her customary time of impurity each month and one who has a discharge outside this time. In simplifying the laws one can summarize that when a woman begins her normal cycle she is impure and cannot have sexual relations for a period of seven days. However if she has a discharge at an unusual time (longer that two days according to the rabbis) she not only has to wait until the discharge stops, but count seven clean days ,i.e. without any discharge before she can be reunited with her husband. Part of the purifying process is a ritual immersion in a mikveh (a special ritual bath or a river, lake, or sea /ocean).

Today Jewish law places a stricter rule on women than what the Torah does. Today even the woman who has her normal monthly cycle has to, when she finishes, wait an additional seven clean days before she can immerse and be reunited with her husband. Such a requirement is not biblical and places an unnecessary burden on the couple. This is an example of one difference between Rabbinical Judaism and Messianic Judaism. Messianic Judaism tries to follow the biblical admonitions rather than building fences around the instructions of HaShem. However  one should not be quick to ignore all that the rabbis instruct, nor fail to consider their interpretations of Scripture.

A problem occurs when believers shun everything the rabbis say and what the Torah states and begin to behave in the manner they want, under the banner of liberty. Such people need to study Paul’s writings carefully in Romans chapters three through eight. Failure to understand what the Torah says, and some of the traditions that the rabbis bring to Judaism, causes one to interpret the New Testament incorrectly often times.

For example, in John chapter two, The Messiah does His first miracle—the changing water into wine. Obviously Yeshua could have caused there to be more wine at the wedding through a variety of different means; therefore the fact that He used the waters for immersion to accomplish this miracle is very significant.  A Jewish woman must immerse prior to her wedding so that the impurity of her unclean state must be removed so she can be united with her groom. When one understands these customs and laws it adds a great deal to one’s understanding of the New Testament and the teachings of our Master—Yeshua.

Shabbat Shalom.

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