Tazria/Metzora (Leprosy/Cleansing the Leper)
Torah: Leviticus 12:1-15:33 Haftarah: II Kings 7:3-20 Brit Chadasha: Jude 1:17-25
But no man is able to tame the tongue. It is unruly, evil, filled with deadly poison. James 3:8
Law of Niddah
This week’s portion is a double dipper if you will. In this commentary I am only going to deal with a segment from chapter fifteen of Leviticus. When I first came into Torah having such a zeal for the Word; I read things for the first time and honestly came up with some crazy things. You’re probably thinking been there done that I’m sure. I look back now and laugh at some of the things that I did especially since my understanding has increased and Scripture has become clearer. One of those areas was when it came to clean and unclean. I will share with you from the perspective of my experiences in walking out the commandments.
Let’s look at some definitions real quick. I think it is imperative that we define words in their Scriptural context and not how our culture has defined words. Our culture has distorted the true meaning of Scriptural terms. What I mean is when you read Scripture and run across words like wicked, evil, Israel or new; it means something different to each person reading those words. We will begin by looking at clean, unclean and touch. The Hebrew word for clean is tahor and the word for unclean is tamei. Tahor literally means to be free of foreign elements and tamei means to be contaminated with foreign substance/s. The word touch is very interesting because this is another one of those words that our culture has distorted. It’s been given the meaning of like tag. If I touch you then I have transferred something over to you now. In Hebrew the word for touch is nagaw which literally means to reach out for, to affect physically. This will be important for later so remember the Scriptural definition of this word.
I’ve mentioned this briefly before but I want to use the example of a woman in her monthly cycle. Now before I begin I want to state that I am not singling women out because there are laws dealing with an emission from men also. I think my reason for mentioning a woman will be very clear when I am done.
“And when a woman has a discharge, and the discharge from her flesh is blood, she has to be in her separation for seven days. And whoever touches her is unclean until evening. Leviticus 15:19
Not having the Full Picture
Now let me go back to what I mentioned starting out and now share some of my experiences when I first started out in Torah. When I read Scriptures like whatever a woman touches when she is on her monthly cycle or wherever she sits is unclean and whoever touches those things will be considered unclean.
‘And whatever she lies on during her separation is unclean. And whatever she sits on is unclean. ‘And anyone who touches her bed has to wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. ‘And whoever touches any object that she sat on has to wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. ‘And if it is on the bed or on any object on which she sits, when he touches it, he is unclean until evening. ‘And if any man lies with her at all, and her monthly flow is on him, he shall be unclean seven days. And any bed he lies on is unclean. ‘And when a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her monthly separation, or when she discharges beyond her usual time of monthly separation, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her monthly separation. She is unclean. ‘Any bed on which she lies all the days of her discharge is to her as the bed of her monthly separation. And whatever she sits on is unclean, as the uncleanness of her monthly separation. ‘And anyone who touches them is unclean, and shall wash his garments, and shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Leviticus 15:20-27
I took those as super literal and if you take them as literal that is fine. I think what is written is exactly what it says and means so I am not saying that we can change the written Word. Let me give one example, I started out by sleeping in another bed when my wife was having her monthly cycle. If there are those of you who continue this practice and that is your belief then go for it and continue doing what you feel has been revealed to you.
In my understanding today I see it in a different light. Let’s go back to those words again. I believe these commandments were given to teach us something deeper. I don’t think it was written so much about a bed or where a woman sits but dealing with a bodily fluid that is outside the body. When fluids that are within our bodies are outside our bodies many times they become the carriers of disease and death. So inside the body these fluids were designed for a specific purpose and function whereas outside the body they are in a different environment and can’t function correctly and cause problems. Scripture says that we are not to touch the bed or chair. Again let’s go back to the Scriptural meaning of what touch is. In my opinion it’s very Greek to think that there is a black or white answer to some of the commandments. Folks we just need to use common sense. In my belief Yah is taking a natural thing and teaching us a spiritual thing. I think to sum it all up the Creator is telling us to stay away from fluids outside the body because remember the way Scripture uses the word touch is in light of striking someone, killing someone or doing harm to someone or something. So when we ‘touch’ these fluids they can cause harm to us. So in my opinion we are not to touch these fluids or come in contact with these fluids because they are the carriers of death and disease outside of the body.
Natural things which bring Spiritual Understanding
What can we draw from these commandments that seem to be somewhat rigid and letter of the Law if you will? Brad Scott helped me to understand this concept. Think of it like this: the Body of our Heavenly Father i.e. eternal life verses the body of man i.e. eternal death. Inside the body is life outside the body is death. Being inside the House of Yah protects us and gives us life but when we step outside this house there are things that can harm us and damage our life.
And Miryam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not set out until Miryam was readmitted. Numbers 12:15
We also see another passage where leprous folks were placed outside the camp.
“He is unclean – all the days he has the infection he is unclean. He is unclean, and he dwells alone, his dwelling place is outside the camp. Leviticus 13:46
There is a difference in leprosy today verses this leprosy mentioned in the Scriptures here. This was a condition of the heart. When a person was ‘tazria’ many times it was a manifestation of something going on spiritually with the person and the Father used this to deal with the issue/s. I’ve mentioned this statement before but sin almost always starts out private but it never does end up that way. Somewhere along the road Yah will pull back the covers, raise the blinds and open the windows, and reveal to the world that there is an issue. Why? Well I believe that it is because He loves us so much that He allows this to happen in order for us to deal with whatever it is that is causing this outward manifestation. So the longer a person that is ‘tazria’ the more uncomfortable and humiliating it becomes, in my opinion. Also that person is outside the camp as we have previously seen. Why? I believe it is to bring repentance and teach a lesson. Inside the camp as I have mentioned earlier is where the protection of the Father is at and outside the camp one is vulnerable to elements of nature and possibly wild animals and doesn’t have the border or boundary that the Father set up to protect him/her. So this might seem harsh to some folks about being placed outside the camp and being leprous but remember the Father’s heart is that none should perish and He wants us to all walk in His ways so therefore He has a method that is very uncomfortable and gives a person time to think about what is really eating away at them, if you will.
Now onto the reason for using women; women paint a beautiful picture in their monthly cycle of perfection, fall and restoration. The nature of Yah and His paradigm that He expressed from the very beginning, He embedded that in a woman’s monthly process. All theological things are in the natural Hebrew everyday life.
Think of it like this; man started out perfect, fell and then was restored. Israel (i.e. the House in Exodus 19) the nation starts perfect, falls (when the nation divided and both were taken off into captivity) and Scripture tells us that Israel will be restored in the future. So a woman every month she is whole i.e. complete, and then blood flows i.e. (death/fall is a picture of death) and she does a mikvah and is restored to fullness or completeness. We see this also with Messiah. He was complete or whole, then He sheds his blood/death (separation from Yah on the tree) and His blood is sprinkled on the altar and He is resurrected and is restored.
So again the bigger picture we have here is a deeper meaning as to what these commandments really are trying to teach us. We should not allow a mixture to come into our lives. The Creator does not want the clean being mixed with the unclean. He hates a mixture and that theme is prevalent all throughout Scripture. One Scripture that comes to mind is in Revelation where Yah vomits out the lukewarm (mixture) folks.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would that you were cold or hot. “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:15-16
We must be very careful to guard every aspect of our lives so that we don’t allow sin to take root and begin to grow and never deal with it because in the end it will get dealt with. We may need to fall on the Rock instead of the Rock falling on us and grinding us into stone.