Parashat Tazria (She Conceives) & Metzora (Leprosy)
VaYikra (Leviticus) 12:1–13:8 & 14:1–15:33
In our Scripture reading this week, we read an interesting and sometimes puzzling set of purity laws that have a powerful connection to a well-known story in the New Covenant:
Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean. Any bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge shall be to her like her bed at menstruation; and every thing on which she sits shall be unclean, like her uncleanness at that time. Likewise, whoever touches them shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening.When she becomes clean from her discharge, she shall count off for herself seven days; and afterward she will be clean. Then on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons and bring them in to the priest, to the doorway of the tent of meeting. The priest shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. So the priest shall make atonement on her behalf before the Lord because of her impure discharge.Thus you shall keep the sons of Israel separated from their uncleanness, so that they will not die in their uncleanness by their defiling My tabernacle that is among them.
Physical purity was highly stressed in the Torah, namely because the tabernacle — God’s presence — was in their midst. There was such a strong urgency within the people of Israel to not defile His tabernacle, but also not to die in their uncleanness. This specific portion speaks of the non-purity of a woman who has a bloody discharge for many days, other than her menstrual period. That woman would be considered unclean, meaning that anything she sits on or touches would also become unclean. Moreover, anyone who touched anything that she touched would also become unclean.
Try to imagine yourself in such a reality; anything you touch would become unclean! Not only that, but can you imagine how isolated and lonely a woman suffering from this extended bleeding would feel? She would have been looked down upon and treated as an outcast, sadly.
With that in mind, we turn to an account in the New Covenant where, I believe, we’ll have an even greater appreciation of our Messiah. I am quoting the entire story since I believe that it has a profound meaning with regard to Yeshua's mercy to cleanse that which is unclean:
As He went, with the crowds on every side virtually choking him, a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years (discharge of her blood many days), and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the garment (tzitzit) on His robe; instantly her bleeding stopped. Yeshua asked, “Who touched me?” When they all denied doing it, Peter said, “Rabbi! The crowds are hemming you in and jostling you!” But Yeshua said, “Someone did touch me, because I felt power go out of me.” Seeing she could not escape notice, the woman, quaking with fear, threw herself down before Him and confessed in front of everyone why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. He said to her, “My daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
I am always touched by this beautiful story, especially in light of our understanding of the Scripture portion from Leviticus 15:25–31. The woman was bleeding for a long time, which according to the parasha, meant that she was unclean. She was essentially a social outcast and she knew that anything she touched would become unclean. Let’s not allow that crucial fact to pass us by! Even so, she dared to believe that Yeshua would heal her. Despite the fact that she wasn't even supposed to be in a crowd of people, she pushed her way through, undoubtedly touching others, risking making them unclean, just to be healed. She also risked making Yeshua, God’s physical tabernacle on earth, unclean!
But Yeshua did not rebuke her; He called her His daughter, made her clean, and praised her for her fearless faith.
This is an incredible story not only of Yeshua’s character, but also of the work that He does in our lives! We are only cleansed through faith in Yeshua the Messiah, and only in Him can we have new life.
Dare to believe that He is for you, He loves you, and He is faithful!
Did you know? — Lone Soldier
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