“From The Outside In” by Ariel Ehrmantrout
Parashot “Tazria: “She bears Seed”/ “Metzora: Skin Disease”
Leviticus 12:1 through15:33
Haftarah 2 Kings 7:3-20
Priesthood Instructions Galatians and Ephesians
“From The Outside In”
This weeks parashot is a double portion however for the time constrainsts we will focus largely on the Tazria portion. Tarzia is a Hebrew word which means, She bears seed. This is an interesting part of the Torah that is mainly interested in the health provisions of the community.
Leviticus 12:1-8 “1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. 6 ” ‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. 7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood. ” ‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.”
This portion covers the duties of G-ds priests to declare what is clean and unclean. Further, it sets forth the amount of time a woman is to abstain from sexual relations following the birth of a child. Any time there is a release of bodily fluids, like in child birth for example, there is an issue of uncleanness.
In addition to uncleanness from childbirth, there are other diseases and skin ailments that are referred to as impurities that the Priests are to adjudicate for the Children of Israel. These include the following: Inflammations, Burns, Scalls (that is where a bald spot occurs where hair should be growing in a healthy manner), baldness, and Tsara’ot which is often misinterpreted as leprosy by many Bible commentaries.
In today’s teaching I want to focus on a specific part of this list of impurities and how this impurity could be robbing you from walking in the blessings of G-d, and how removal of these impurities from your life will restore you to walking in the blessings of the covenant that the Torah and the Testimony of Yeshua have for you to walk in.
The Hebrew word Tsara’ot, is often misinterpreted as leprosy, as I stated just a moment ago, but what it really means is “skin infection.” An infection is a bacteria, which is the smallest of all living organisms that begins from a single encounter and grows into a large painful problem, that if left unchecked in your life will result in you being declared as “Tam’ei”-which is Hebrew for ritually impure, and being cut of from your people–or sent to hell in today’s language. God’s desire is that our High Priest–Yeshua the Messiah, be able to proclaim us as being Tahor–which is ritually pure and able to stand in the presence of the L-rd for all eternity.
The word most often translated as leprosy is not describing what we might define today as Hansen’s disease–which is contagious leprosy. No, Tsara’ot is the visible manifestation of a contagious impurity which G-d will not tolerate within his house.
Traditionally, Rabbinical Judaism has taught since before the time of Messiah that tsara’ot is an impurity that arises from the act of slandering your neighbor, shedding blood, giving a false oath and or committing immorality. Prosecution of slander in civil courts is very hard to do according to Numbers 12:9-10 and Deuteronomy 24:8-9; but left unchecked, slander, just like the smallest bit of Hametz–leaven/yeast from the feast of unleavened bread, can destroy a whole community.
In this parashot the Priests of G-d are to even check the clothing of the people declaring a person “Tahor–Pure” or “Tam’ei-which is defiled” Anyone who is unfortunate enough to be declared Tam’ei, or defiled is declared stricken with tsara’ot and they are barred from the camp. They are commanded to live outside the camp, and they are to wear their clothing torn apart and they are to cover the lower portion of their face and they are to yell as anyone approaches them “Unclean–Unclean,” announcing that they are under the punishment of G-d.
The point of this was to ensure that the camp was free of all impurity. G-d has a way of protecting integrity and wholeness, and he seeks men and woman who are clean and whole in all areas of our life. This is a very serious condition; in fact our forefathers have taught that four types of people are considered as if they are walking dead people on the earth: a pauper, a leper, a blind man, and anyone who is childless. In fact being healed of this disease was so rare that it is said of the ancient rabbi’s that anyone who was healed of tsara’ot, was thought to have been brought back from the dead.
Today I want to teach you about how one gets tsara’ot and what the spiritual effects are of you having it, so that you can avoid ever becoming its victim.
According to the Torah, leprosy is caused by slandering ones neighbor. Webster’s dictionary defines slander as, “Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person’s reputation.” And “A false and malicious statement or report about someone.” If you turn in your Bible with me to Numbers chapter 12 Beginning at verse one:
“Miriam and Aaron began to talk about Moshe because of His Cushite Wife (because she was a Black woman), 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. Now Moshe was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. At once the L-rd said to Moshe, Aaron and Miriam, Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you. So the three of them came out. Then the L-rd came down in a pillar of cloud; He stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, He said listen to my words, “When a prophet of the L-rd is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams, But this is not true of my servant Moshe, he is faithful in all my house, with him I speak face to face, clearly not in riddles, he sees the form of the L-rd. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moshe? The anger of the L-rd burned against them and He left. When the cloud lifted from among the tent, there stood Miriam–tsara’ot, like snow.”
What we see clearly displayed in this passage is what the rabbi’s have taught for so many centuries,, that to bring slander against someone is the foundation for tsara’ot. In this story we see that Miriam and Aaron were beginning to get a little to big for their britches–in fact pride began to fill their hearts some time before this. However Miriam began to crow against Moshe for marrying a black woman. This slander combined with one of the first recorded episodes of racism brought an immediate response from the L-rd. When the presence of the L-rd lifted Miriam had completely changed.
You see with this disease, she was spiritually unclean and would have to tear her clothing and wear a veil as she lived outside the camp banished and alone for the rest of her life; outside the camp was where the rubbish was burned and where we get the word Sh’ol which later comes to represent being in hell, all because she had raised her words against the prophet of the L-rd and his spouse. Yet today in G-ds church we have people who do not think twice about raising their hands up against G-ds chosen and anointed leaders and Shepard’s.
There is not a day that goes by when people in congregations throughout this land sit back and criticize everything that their leaders are doing, from the cologne they wear to the cars they drive to the way that they preach their messages. This action leaves us with the same effect that it left Miriam with. It removes the L-rds presence from our midst. You’ll notice that the cloud lifted when the uncleanliness was in the camp, and be assured that the L-rds presence lifts off of you each time that you lift your voice up against your brothers and sisters in the faith as well.
Tsara’ot is clearly defined as resulting from slander, so now lets look at what the words says about the effects of tsara’ot in of lives.
#1-Tsara’ot separates close friends, Pro 16:28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
Pro 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth [very] friends.
So it is clear that slandering and speaking evil will certainly separate close friends. I cannot begin to tell you the times that I have seen some of the closest relationships in the body of Messiah torn apart because someone had to slander someone or participate in gossip about their “friends.” This behavior is something that really runs rampant through most congregations today. The reason it is so rampant is that people have strayed into a false sense of security in this once saved always saved doctrine. They have no fear of violating G-ds Torah, and raising their mouths up against leaders and friends within the Body of Messiah. Beloved this should not be an attribute that we participate in. This only causes death–and tsara’ot in your hearts, which causes G-ds glory cloud to raise itself away from you leaving you crying unclean in beggars clothing and a veil just like Miriam, while the rubbish of life burns all around you.
#2-Tsara’ot causes deadly wounds: Pro 18:8 The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Pro 26:22 The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Our words are weapons of mass destruction. They cause wounds that cannot be easily healed. Several years ago a scientist at SETI proved the power of words. He discovered that words people speak actually travel in a continuous pattern throughout our universe! They continue to resonate sound for all time, never stopping once they . You can see this in your own life; I’ll bet you that you can still remember something mean that someone said to you several years ago–just like it was yesterday. You see our words cause wounds in the people that we speak them about and to. This is why we must be so careful about the language that we use in our homes and with our families, and really with all people.
#3- Tsara’ot causes strife and discord: Pro 26:20 Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
Causes discord among brotheren: Pro 6:19 A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Congregations where people are allowed to eat each other with the words of their mouths are places where strife and discord abound. You’ve undoubtedly been to these places before. They really look good on the outside but once you are on the inside, you see that they are places full of strife and every evil work. Messiah came to bring us the Kingdom of G-d, which is righteousness peace and joy in the H-ly Spirit. Strife and discord are exactly the opposite of righteousness–which comes only through obedience to G-ds Torah and the peace that is found in Messiah; the culmination of this factor is the death of all joy in your life.
#4- Tsara’ot through slander is akin to committing murder of someone’s character:
Psa 31:13 For I have heard the slander of many: fear [was] on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life.
NKJV – Eze 22:9 – In you are men who slander to cause bloodshed; in you are those who eat on the mountains; in your midst they commit lewdness.
Matt 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment; 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Yeshua said in his filling of the Torah interpretation that to call your brother a fool would net you a trip to hell. This is a very serious thing that far too many people in the body of Messiah participate in each day.
How many of us go to work and get the opportunity to talk a little smack about our bosses–and pass on it? Or better yet, how many times have we gotten mad at our husbands and waltzed right on over to the telephone and called our favorite girlfriend and spoken about what an insensitive and uncaring brute our husbands were.
Or conversely, how many times have you men been at work of school and talked evil about your wife when she did something that you didn’t like? You see beloved this is a pervasive problem within the body of messiah that must be addressed if we are ever to see the blessings of G-d truly flowing in our midst. Let me ask you this, if a homeless person came into this building right now, smelling from living life on the mean streets and dressing in whatever they could put together–how many of us when we experienced that “Ode-de-the Sewer Cologne” would run over to the corner somewhere and talk about that poor brother or sister as if we were some how better?
Or let me think of another example. Ho many of us have forgotten where we were when the L-rd made his saving intervention in our life? I mean, when you were in the world and you were a Torah violator, you were doing things that Rabbi Sha’ul says are too shameful for us to even mention! Yet something happens to us beloved–see we get Holy-ER then though! It is an attitude that is indicative of the modern congregation. We forget how evil we were and the sins that so easily beset us, and so we can look down our long religious noses at people who are less fortunate than we are–or different from us, judging everything from their clothing to their choice of hairdo’s! Beloved this ought not to be.
You see these slanders and judgments are not our position to perform. We are to love. We are to be serving one another in love. We are to be laying down out lives for all that we come in contact with. Ya’acov (James) the Leader of the Congregations in Jerusalem writes this for us in James chapter 4, and verse 11 “11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of [his] brother, and judges his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judges the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.“
You see just like Miriam did with Moshe and his wife, when we judge and slander we are judging and slandering the Torah. Man is made in G-ds image and likeness but we do not think twice about casting judgment and slander against G-ds children.
Let us be love to this world and put away the sin of Tsara’ot! Let us be cleansed of this leprosy that is eating away at our ability to walk on the heights of the land. Let us put on love and speak the blessings of G-d through His word over people. If people hurt you–bless them. If they slander you-bless them. If people attack you, pray for them. In doing this you will be keeping the Torah and will truly be living the life that Yeshua died for you to live. Remember your life is not your own, you were bought with a price–let us be salt and light in the world and not a body covered in the tsara’ot of slavery because
“Mat 12:36-7 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shall be justified, and by thy words thou shall be condemned.“
Shavuatov and Alechem Shalom
©2010 Ariel Ehrmantrout
This Weeks Haftarah: 2 Kings 7: 3 – 20
Today’s Haftarah Message: “Under Siege”
Today’s Reading 2 Kings 7: 5 – 7: “ 5 At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, not a man was there, 6 for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” 7 So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.”
In this week’s Haftarah portion, we come to the section where GOD Himself is ending the siege, by the Arameans, and famine in Samaria, from 2 Kings 6. Here, GOD caused the Arameans to hear the sounds of chariots, horses, and a great army. The result of which caused the Arameans to flee their encampment and run away for their lives. They thought that the King of Israel had hired the Hittites and the Egyptians to attack them. This same miracle was performed during the Six Day War (1967) when the Egypt, Jordon, Syria, and Iraq fought against the modern nation of Israel. The result of the conflict was that Egypt, Jordon, and Syria lost the Sinai, Golden Heights, and the West Bank (including Jerusalem).
The most interesting part of the portion is the King’s Field Commander’s words of doubt, responding to Elisha’s prophecy of the end of the siege and famine.
First Elisha Prophesize the end of both the siege and the famine.
2 Kings 7: 1 says “1 Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria”
Second, the King’s Field Commander has words of doubt that GOD not just will, but could GOD, end the famine and siege of Samaria.
2 Kings 7: 2a says “2 The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?””
Third, Elisha prophesizes what will happen to the King’s Field Commander.
2 Kings 7: 2b says ““You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!” ”
2 Kings 7: 17 – 20 says “17 Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. 18 It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
19 The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” 20 And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.”
Elisha knew what was going to happen to the King’s Field Commander. We know from studying the incident of THE SPIES that went to spy out the land GOD was giving them. The consequences were that for the spies that gave the bad report, was 40 years in the wilderness. Children of Israel going through the Wilderness with Moses, that GOD does not tolerate doubting of His word. Look what happened to THE SPIES.
Deuteronomy 1: 26 – 40 says “26 But you were unwilling to go up; you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. 27 You grumbled in your tents and said, “The LORD hates us; so he brought us out of Egypt to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us. 28 Where can we go? Our brothers have made us lose heart. They say, ‘The people are stronger and taller than we are; the cities are large, with walls up to the sky. We even saw the Anakites there.’ ”
29 Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. 30 The LORD your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, 31 and in the desert. There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”
32 In spite of this, you did not trust in the LORD your God, 33 who went ahead of you on your journey, in fire by night and in a cloud by day, to search out places for you to camp and to show you the way you should go.
34 When the LORD heard what you said, he was angry and solemnly swore: 35 “Not a man of this evil generation shall see the good land I swore to give your forefathers, 36 except Caleb son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly.”
37 Because of you the LORD became angry with me also and said, “You shall not enter it, either. 38 But your assistant, Joshua son of Nun, will enter it. Encourage him, because he will lead Israel to inherit it. 39 And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who do not yet know good from bad—they will enter the land. I will give it to them and they will take possession of it. 40 But as for you, turn around and set out toward the desert along the route to the Red Sea.”
Just like THE SPIES, the King’s Field Commander rebelled against what GOD had said. The result for each was death. It was the words, or their internal walking infection – METZORA, of rebellion that caused them to die.
We need to ask ourselves, do we rebel against GOD with the words we speak? If we do, we need to stop, ask for repentance, and healing – because only GOD can heal the METZORA.
Rabbi Shaun Sailor
[5th Year Torah Student and Student Rabbi Shaun S. Sailor appears the courtesy of Temple Ahavah Torah Training Center. If you enjoy Reb Sailor’s Haftarah commentary each week, take a moment and jot him and encouraging note at email@example.com ]