I’ve never had great knees, but this was a bit much. At 32 years old, I was limping around, struggling to go up and down stairs, and just feeling terrible about it. Thankfully, surgery and physical therapy helped and I have long since recovered. The most important lesson I learned from my bad knees is one that I see reflected in this week’s Torah portion. Parashat Tazria-M’tzora teaches us about our physicality; its focus is on the skin, hair, fluids, and organs that make up our bodies. We learn how out of our control those things can be and we gain some insight into our relationships with those entrusted with our care.
In the double portion, Tazria/M’tzora, we have the responsibility, even if it isn’t our pleasure, to investigate texts on birth and its aftermath, bodily afflictions and emissions, skin ailments, and leprosy. They were once taboos that raised fears in the community and turned priests of their day into guardians of purity.
The double portion, Tazria/M'tzora, discusses the priests' treatment of various skin ailments. It demonstrates a positive relationship between Judaism and medicine that has developed throughout the centuries.
Read as a double parasha* with the next, this parasha holds the rituals of purification after childbirth, as well as those for skin diseases.
The next parasha, M’tzora, goes into more ways to heal, as well as how people can contract diseases. The rap has some rough info., but listen in!
The first chapter of this double portion, chapter 12 of Leviticus, is perplexing. It seems to stand by itself. Its topic, the condition of a woman who has given birth, does not seem to relate to last week's portion, dealing