Parashah #27: Tazria (She Conceives) Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:1-13:59 (Beth Elohim follows the Essene calendar)

Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
Parashah #27: Tazria (She conceives) Vayikra (Leviticus) 12:1-13:59
Haftarah: M’lakhim Bet (2 Kings) 4:42-5:19
B’rit Chadashah: Luke 2:22-24; 5:12-16

The focus of this parashah takes a turn from a focus on the priesthood; atonement, dedication, and thanksgiving incumbent on everyone; laymen and priests. This process of G-d giving instructions is completely appropriate, addressing the rules for leading the people and participating in the instructions given to all of the people first, then moving onto instructions that would separate the people from that which is unclean through various models of worship that would dictate a consistent lifestyle for everyone. Laws that are still in place today were given distinguishing right from wrong, how G-d defines sin, and how to avoid it. We see this issue addressed throughout G-d’s Torah, including the B’rit Chadashah. One example is found in 1 John 3:4 which reads “Whoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law; for sin is the transgression of the law.” and rebellion against G-d found in Deuteronomy 9:7 and Joshua 1:18. The beginning of sin originated with Lucifer renamed Satan (Is. 14:12-15) and has been passed down through the male sex ever since. Digressing here a moment, if the laws of G-d were abrogated when Yahshua was crucified, then there is no longer any sin. Since Christians maintain that G-d’s laws are “dead,” then they must believe that there is no longer any sin by default. I ask you to simply think about this logically and consider revising your belief system if you agree that this dichotomy is not logical and does not exist in G-d’s economy. Sin is sin which is transgression of G-d’s laws, not the rabbinic laws that man made and use to overlay G-d’s Torah and in some cases negate it! Dear Christians, this is the issue Yahshua (Jesus) and Paul spoke against, not against G-d’s laws.
When the people or the priests sinned, there were sacrificial and ritual counterparts of the law that were necessary to instruct and lead the people into repentance, atonement, and cleansing tangibly and spiritually.

The phrase “garbage in, garbage out” rings true as we discuss the dietary laws which are also still in existence and in force today. These laws were not simply for hygiene, although there is a hygienic component to them. The concept is significantly spiritual. For example, believers are not permitted to eat shellfish. Hygienically this makes sense because shellfish are bottom feeders and store all sorts of toxins in their bodies. Believers are not to eat pork. Today we have refrigeration which minimizes the occurrence of porcine disease, but again there is a significant spiritual component regarding this prohibition. Pigs are the only animal that has a split hoof but does not chew the cud, a requirement for both in choosing meat to eat. In other words, pigs “look” kosher on the outside with the split hoof, but they are unclean because the do not shew a cud. Furthermore, an animal that chews the cud is not carnivorous, but lived on vegetation which is an important distinction. Life and blood are synonymous. Therefore for an animal to have eaten blood such as the carnivores do, this is equated to taking the life of a creature including its blood which is forbidden. This is also why believers are not permitted to eat rare meat.
G-d’s laws for killing permitted animals demonstrated His compassion for all life. The living creature to be eaten had its jugular vein cut, and the blood of the animal was carefully drained from its body. The carcass was carefully cleansed and prepared for eating, keeping with the practices of a holy people.
G-d’s instructions/laws for identifying and addressing various diseases have also been generally pushed aside in modern history, much to the detriment of world societies. G-d established laws that mandated isolating/quarantining people who had even the possibility of and contagious disease that could affect their approach to G-d. The concept behind these laws was to demonstrate the difference between physical, bodily disease and spiritual sin. This is a subject of which people often become confused, especially in the case of leprosy. When people became ill it was not an automatic indication that that person was a terrible sinner. However, the emphasis shown in this parashah on disease, treatment and disease prevention is that it was sin in the first place that allowed the introduction of all the diseases of mankind to which we are vulnerable. Indeed, one of the judgmental aspects of sin is disease. See Genesis 3:17,18). This is why anyone with any type of defect was not allowed into the presence of G-d. They were not rejected by G-d, they simply could not approach G-d in the holy places.
I need to mention here that the word rendered “leprosy” in the English translations for the Hebrew word “sara ’at” with the corresponding description of symptoms found in chapters 13-14, is not the leprosy known as Hansen’s disease. The description of leprosy in Leviticus 13 has been reviewed by many leprologists according to Louis Goldberg in his book “Leviticus: Bible Study Commentary, 1980, p. 69 who attest to this fact.
Chapter 13 of Leviticus speaks of an infection that is temporary that would begin to heal in only 7 days. Two details in this record that discount the possibility of leprosy as we think of it today are the whiteness of the disease on the scalp. Leprous lesions are never white, and that the presence on the scalp only rarely occurs in advanced stages and not as a first sign. This is not to say that leprosy did not exist, but it does introduce the correlation between disease and sin.
Many people have asked me about Miriam’s case of leprosy described in Numbers chapter 12: “Miriam and Aharon began to talk against Moshe because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. ‘Has the L-rd spoken only through Moshe?’ they asked. ‘Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ And the L-rd heard this.”
G-d called Moshe, Aharon, and Miriam to the tent of meeting and called Aharon and Miriam out. G-d rebuked them reminding them that Moshe was in a special relationship with Him. He asked them how they could not be afraid to speak against Moshe. We need this introduction for what is to follow, understanding that sin is the source of all disease. Miriam and Aharon had committed lashon hara (
evil tongue) against Moshe which is a grave sin in G-d’s economy.

Moving to verse 9 and 10 we read “The anger of the L-rd burned against them, and he left them. When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous-it became as white as snow.” Aharon, not knowing this was a spiritual judgement that was manifest as a physical disease because of Miriam’s sin of speaking evil against Moshe, prayed for her healing as did Moshe. She was isolated outside the camp for seven days, at which time she was “healed” and allowed to return. Whoever thinks that G-d does not put His children in “time-out” sessions, simply needs to read scripture for the many examples written in G-d’s Torah concerning G-d’s ways of spiritually realigning His people to a holy lifestyle.
At the time the laws were given concerning disease, treatment, and healing, there were no doubt medical practitioners who could detect these diseases. But getting back to the spiritual concept of detecting “contamination, uncleanliness, disease, and prescribing the remedy, the priests were given the information needed to determine whether someone was sick or well, to determine whether they needed to be isolated, and when they were “clean”, cleared to return to the camp. Panning out to the concept, only G-d can determine with all accuracy whether we have become “unclean,” diseased, or otherwise contaminated spiritually. He is the only one that can declare us “clean” once more and open the door to His fellowship once again.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘L-rd, L-rd,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘L-rd, L-rd, did we not prophecy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”
Again, notice the word lawlessness that is synonymous with sin as we previously discussed.

Haftarah: M’lakhim Bet (2 Kings) 4:42-5: 19
This week’s haftarah describes how a prophet miraculously cured an Aramite General of his tzara’at as we discussed in the parashah. The beginning of the passage briefly mentions one of the prophet Elisha’s miraculous accomplishments through the power of G-d. He received a mere twenty loaves of bread and a sack of grain. At Elisha’s insistence, this gift was shared among 100 men. The food was enough and there was more to spare.
Naaman, who was an Aramite general, contracted tzara’at. A young captive Israelite maid advised him saying “I wish my lord could go to the prophet in Shomron! He could heal his tzara’at. Acting on her suggestion, the king of Arman sent a message to the King of Israel telling him Naaman was on his way and that he was to cure him of his tzara’at. The king panicked, until Elisha sent him a message after he heard of the King tearing his clothes. Naaman was sent to Elisha and was advised to immerse himself seven times in the Jordan River. At first Naaman was outraged that Elisha would not come to him personally and wave his hands over the sore and call on the Name of G-d. Ironically, his servants had the right idea telling him that if Elisha had asked him to do something difficult, he would have done it, so why not follow simple directions? The root of the problem is a common one; one that cost hasatan his position and standing with G-d. It was pride. Naaman relented and did as Elisha told him and he was immediately healed. What else does this teach us? Note that Naaman wanted to stay in one spot and have Elisha come to HIM. But Naaman wound up going to the river instead. We must be obedient to G-d’s commands just as Naaman’s finally was to Elisha’s command. Naaman had to go out to the water instead of Elisha coming to a stationary Naaman. Remember, faith is action based on belief. The formula is simple and cannot be altered. Elisha refused any gifts from Naaman, and Naaman essentially converted. He promised Elisha that he would no longer serve any deity other than the One G-d. Elisha sent him on his way in peace.

B’rit Chadashah: Luke: 22-24; 5:12-16
Let’s go to Verse 12-16 in Chapter 5; “Once, when Yahshua was in one of the towns, there came a man completely covered with tzara’at. On seeing Yahshua, he fell on his face and begged him, “Sir, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Is it not interesting that this man did not bargain with Yahshua, and he didn’t beg Yahshua to heal him? He didn’t proceed to tell Yahshua of all the things he did in Yahshua’s Name or otherwise attempt to justify his lifestyle. Note that from our parashah reading, a man who was completely covered with tzara’at was declared clean because his spiritual state was so low. But this man, although completely covered, knew he was not clean. Furthermore, he attempted to repent and recognizes Yahshua as the only One who could cure him. The man went to Yahshua; Yahshua did not go to the man. He was simply in the town at the time. Consistent with Yahshua’s humility, he told the man not to broadcast what he had done for the man. Instead he told the man, “as a testimony to the people, go straight to the Cohen and make an offering for your cleansing, as Moshe commanded.” Yahshua is showing the people that the commands of HaShem remain in force. The healed man was to follow what was written in the Old Testament about offerings made through the Cohen. This would send a message to the religious establishment that the Messiah had come and was at work, doing what only the Messiah can do. Healing a leper, casting out a deaf, dumb, and blind demon were signs noted in 1st century Judaism that would identify the Messiah. Yahshua did not make a public spectacle of himself as the Messiah in the early part of his ministry because He knew the people expected a Messiah who would liberate Israel from Rome and rule in glory, not one who would die the death of a common criminal. Had everyone known he was the Messiah, they would have focused on making him king then and there, instead of what He was trying to teach. However, word got out about Yahshua and His healing the infirm, so “huge crowds would gather to listen and be healed of their sicknesses. However, he made a practice of withdrawing to remote places to pray.” Even Yahshua needed a break from healing the sick so he could draw on the strength of his Father. He never advocated for dog and pony shows such as those we often see today.
This parashah is a stark reminder of what we are experiencing today more than ever. A healthcare system going bankrupt testifies to the diseases plaguing our world that never existed, and the resurgence of those we thought were eradicated. What may have appeared to us as superficial infections that we took pride in eradicating are in fact uncleanliness that remains manifest in the deepest tissues of humanity. We must acknowledge our uncleanliness before YHVH/Yahshua and clean up our acts before the final curtain. We must never give up in our quest to ascend in our relationship with G-d. We shouldn’t need to be afflicted with tzara’at to realize we are unclean sinners who need to repent and keep watch on our hearts and minds daily. Furthermore, the lesson on tzara’at shows us that once we are purified, we can still become unclean. Tzara’at is an effective way to grab our attention. It is heartbreaking to watch people and society self-destruct knowing that if they would only read the “instruction guide,” G-d’s Torah and start living it, things could be so different. How much less anxiety and depression there would be, how much less disease and crime. The sad part is that the complications occurring because of ignoring G-d’s Torah in any venue could have and can be avoided. So it is with sin and our relationship to YHVH/Yahshua. The process of repentance and purification is an ongoing race because we still have the sinful nature within us. However, through acceptance of Yahshua’s sacrifice, we have a way to overcome the sin nature. We know that G-d can and does use adversities in our lives for His glory. Sometimes that means a total surrender to His will, no matter the physical consequences. However, G-d gives wisdom to those who follow Him. We are then armed with discernment and common sense that helps us to make wise lifestyle choices as the Ruach HaKodesh guides us. We must come to a point where prayer, Torah study and selflessness dominate our lives and become our “second nature.” We can accomplish this change with constant prayer, Torah study, obeying the commands of G-d, and carrying the testimony of Yahshua according to the seven-fold witness in the book of Revelation. No matter how our modern secular humanistic society manipulates and abrogates G-d’s instructions for living a holy life; teach our children there are no longer any laws, no wrong, no sin, “not one jot nor one tittle shall pass from the law, until all is fulfilled” (Matt: 5:18), only G-d can accomplish such a feat that will not occur until after the Millennial Reign.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart