Tazria/Metzora - April 17, 2021

Torah Portion:
Tazria/Metzora - April 17, 2021

Torah: Leviticus 12:1-15:33
Haftarah: 2 Kings 7:3-20
Portion Summary:
—The laws for a woman who has given birth are given.
—The protocol for skin and infection in fabric are given.
—The ritual of the cleansing of a “leper” is detailed.
—Rituals concerning plagues of a house are discussed.
—Laws concerning discharges of men and women are given.

Devotional by Janet Cothrell:
A Spiritual Contagion
“Then ADONAI spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying, ‘When a man has a swelling on the skin of his body or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes the plague-mark of tza’arat in his flesh, then he should be brought to Aaron the Kohen, or to one of his sons, the kohanim.’” Leviticus 13:1-2 (TLV)

Tza’arat, as it is described in the verse above, is usually translated in the English as leprosy. The idea in this text is that while the disease is a physical affliction, other places in Torah show us that its onset can be a form of God’s judgment towards sinful habits and behaviors. For example, in Numbers chapter 12, Miriam the sister of Moses is struck with tza’arat the moment she is confronted by the Lord for derogatory comments made against her brother and sister-in-law. This shows us that even though the disease struck the flesh, it had a clear connection to sinful behavior.  

Habitual sin such as lashon hara (the evil tongue/gossip), pride, or selfishness are all “contagious,” but none of these spreads faster than gossip. Once heard it is impossible to un-hear what was said. It becomes even harder to not spread around what we’ve heard to others! We must understand how serious gossip is. It’s more than just harmless talk; it is a spiritual contagion that needs to be eradicated! We must remove gossip and slander from our speech not just for our own sakes, but to stop its spread to others. If you struggle with lashon hara, I invite you to say this prayer aloud:

I confess that I have engaged in lashon hara by speaking and even hearing gossip. I repent of this and ask You to help me not to indulge in it; help me to turn away from it always. You are my Rock, and I wish to follow as You lead.
In Yeshua’s name, amen.

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