Friday, March 28, 2014

Shabbat Thought :: Parasha Tazria

Each week in the Synagogue, a different portion of scripture is studied.  The Torah (Old Testament) is broken into portions which are read over the course of a year.  At the end of the year, it starts over again so the Bible is read annually. 

This week's Parasha is Tazria from Leviticus 12:1-13:59.

In a world without doctors, it seems the priests got to play the part in determining what was clean or unclean. As I read this Parasha, I keep noticing how yucky (yes. that's the technical term) it must have been those 5000 years ago. Blood to sacrifice, splattered everywhere, blood after childbirth, leprosy, disease, killing animals for dinner...the world then was full of lots of ick. Or perhaps our world now is just concerned about being clean.

I can get away without touching blood in the course of my daily life, and so can most of us, most days. But when you read this scripture, I think that it must have really been a bloody mess!

No matter how you look at it, the rules of Torah were, and pretty much are, a good thing. Caring about what was clean or unclean was likely a gift that God gave the Jewish people for their survival. In a world where disease was often attributed to evil spirits of one sort or another, this text seems to point to disease as something more along the lines of what we consider it to be in this day and age. 

Separating out contagious diseases, aside from protecting the people, allowed Yeshua to show His might. Why would someone touch a leper? Someone with the power of God would not need to worry, because God can overcome all and make all clean.

Also, sometimes verses just make me laugh. Leviticus 13:40-41, "Now if a man loses the hair of his head, he is bald; he is clean. If his head becomes bald at the front and sides, he is bald on the forehead; he is clean." The passage then talks about types of balding that are unclean. But for some reason, I found that bit funny!

Leviticus is full of lists of rules that are easy to skim through. I guess I can connect to this type of passage more than I thought I could. 

What are your Shabbat Thoughts?


  1. I have always found the parallel between the law and modern health care interesting. Thank you for reminding me about it.

    1. You're welcome. Something else I'd been remembering was about the Black Plague. If I'm correct, the Jewish population suffered much less from the Black Plague because of their hand washing rituals.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting!