Weekly Torah Portion: Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12:1-15:33)


In this Torah portion, God instructs Moses about the purification rituals for mothers following childbirth. God then describes to Moses and Aaron the procedures for identifying and responding to those infected with leprosy. God describes the purification ritual for people and homes afflicted with skin diseases; God also instructs Moses and Aaron regarding the laws of the emission of bodily fluids.
Read an extensive summery of Tazria and Metzora on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“Prayer can be chicken soup for the body and soul indeed” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2016 read the full drash

“Perhaps we can also address the issue by building new, more affordable housing for people in our city…” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2014 read the full drash

“…I kept looking over here at our recent exposure to the outside world. And I couldn’t help but think that Jewish tradition is brilliant in its insistence that when we build our sanctuaries…” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards in 2011 read the full drash

“Being Jewish and Queer we know what vulnerability feels like…” – Bracha Yael in 2010 read the full drash

“This is Shabbat Tazria, the Shabbat of childbirth: that’s the good news. The bad news is, the childbirth material in this week’s parashah is actually pretty disturbing.” – Joe Hample, Rabbinic Intern, in 2008 read the full drash

Torah Verse of the Week*

“You shall put the Israelites on guard against their impurity, lest they die through their impurity by defiling My Tabernacle which is among them.” (Parashat M’tzora, Leviticus 15:31)

And you shall come to see the difference between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who has served God and the one who has not served God. (Haftara for Shabbat Hagadol Malachi 3:18)

Other Suggested Readings

Did you look in the mirror today and wonder about something you saw on your face? Or maybe you caught a new spot growing on your body? – Leah Zimmerman’s Explaining Torah column

MyJewishLearning.com commentator Rabbi Roderick Young argues that Tazria teaches us that understanding God’s presence in disease reveals illness not as punishment, but an opportunity to treat others as the image of God in his short article ‘A Gay Perspective on Punishment and Disease’ – Check out this article and more on our Telephone Torah Study archives

“As we read in Leviticus of the extraordinary lives of the priests, tenders of the sacred flame, preservers of the religion as it was then, I like to think about the meaningfulness they might have found in their ordinariness and in their tears.” – Weekly portion commentary by Rabbi Lisa Edwards, published in the Jewish Journal in 2006. Read in full

Rabbi Paul Jacobson, writing for the Union for Progressive Judaism, says Metzorah teaches us: “A religion that knocks us down, makes us afraid, and tells us that we are not good enough will not succeed in helping us achieve the fullness of our individual or communal potential.” Read here


*Torah Verse of the Week is chosen by the Torah class during Tuesdays’ studies with Rabbi Lisa Edwards. Check out when our next Torah Study takes place

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