Tazria-Metzorah 5773-2013

"Ritual Impurity and Tzaraat: A Contemporary Understanding"

The Biblical texts of parashiot Tazria and Metzorah seem quite foreign to contemporary thinkers. It is possible, however, to interpret the challenging concepts reflected in these parashiot in a more contemporary light and in a manner that may be more palatable to modern thinkers.

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Tazria 5768-2008

"The Odd Ritual Practices of the Metzorah!"

In parashat Tazria we are taught that the metzorah, the person who is afflicted with the disease tzah'ra'aht for speaking lashon hara, must rend his clothes. He is also forbidden to cut his hair, must cover his mouth and head, and needs to call out publicly: "Contaminated, contaminated!" In addition, he is isolated from the rest of the community. What are the meanings of these rituals and behaviors, and what impact are they expected to have on gossipers and slanderers?

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Tazria 5765-2005

"Some Important Lessons That We Learn from the Ancient Biblical Tzara'at"

The laws of the Biblical disease, tzara'at, are complex, and seem rather irrelevant. By surveying the nuances of the text in parashat Tazria we learn many profound messages about judging others favorably, healing ourselves and coming closer to G-d.

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Tazria 5763-2003

"Tzaraat--The Spiritual Dermatological Disease"

According to Jewish tradition, the primary cause of the affliction tzaraat is lashon hara, speaking evil or slanderously of others. In ancient times, when one would speak evil of another person, a rash or infection would appear on the belongings or on the body of the perpetrator. On the surface, the assertion that one can develop a hideous skin rash from speaking evil seems quite preposterous, yet, there are many precedents for such things in life, science, and medicine.

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