Updated: Oct 11
27th & 28th Portion
[7-13 & 14-20 April 2023]
Theme of the Book of Leviticus:
Life as a priest.
Meaning of "tazria" = "she conceives"
Meaning of "metzora" = "leper"
This week's Torah portions:
Sunday: Leviticus 12:1-13:23
Monday: Leviticus 13:24-39
Tuesday: Leviticus 13:40-54
Wednesday: Leviticus 13:55-14:20
Thursday: Leviticus 14:21-32
Friday: Leviticus 14:33-15:15
Shabbat: Leviticus 15:16-33 & 2 Kings 4:42-5:19 & 2 Kings 7:3-20
Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:
1 Peter 1-4
This is the 5th portion of Leviticus and also the third last one before we move onto the book of Numbers. Just like our 22nd portion (Vayekhel / Pekudei), this week we have a double portion again, namely Tazria & Metzora. These are two separate portions but are both read in one week.
To refresh your mind on the double portion readings in case it has slipped your mind or if you are new here... We have to remember that the Hebrew calendar does not work on the Gregorian calendar of the world. The Hebrew calendar are dependent on the moon and the harvest cycles. Some years have 12 months and others have 13 months - each consisting of 29 or 30 days, depending on the moon. Thus in order to make the Torah portions fit into the Gregorian calendar for our weekly readings - these two portions are combined. There are 7 double portions like this week's. This is the second double portion. Parashat Vayekhel / Pekudei was the first. And next week will again be a double portion. Three of the 7 double portions are found in Leviticus.
The portions which are combined are selected according to themes - in other words two portions which almost have the same theme to them would be combined.
My first thought was what could "she conceived" (tazria) and "leper" (metzora) have in common to be grouped under the same theme. Being pregnant and then having leprosy. And then it clicked... Since Leviticus is about our lives as a priesthood. And our lives should bring forth life. Thus what are we expectant (pregnant) with? What will come forth from our lives. Life of leprosy?
In the Tazria portion, gossip and defiled garments are likened to one another. In this portion it is discussed how a woman who gives birth becomes ritually impure. (Today we know that we are no longer under the ceremonial law and bound to the sacrificial rituals). After giving birth, a women was considered to be defiled / impure for a certain amount of days (the amount of days differed for having a boy / having a girl). After those days have passed, the woman then went for a "mikvah" which is the Hebrew word for a purifying bath. Alongside the mikvah, they also had to bring certain offerings at the tabernacle. And custom was for the male babies who were born, to be circumcised by the eighth day.
Remember last week's portion Shmini - the eighth day - was all about the fact that there is something more beyond the natural. The circumcision on the eighth day, which took in the flesh - is a symbol of the circumcision of our hearts - which takes place in the spirit. Symbolically it shows that when our hearts are circumcised, we enter into a relationship with Yeshua. And only then we can start to live life beyond the natural!
After this concept of the women who were defiled by birth and the process on becoming "clean" again is discussed... We then read about a skin discolouration. In our modern day Bibles it's translated as leprosy. But the actual word used in the original Hebrew text in which the Bible was written - was referring to a skin condition - but not necessarily leprosy. If this skin condition was present, the person was considered to be ritually impure. We read that when someone had this condition, they had to go to the priests. Back in those days the priests were seen as the "doctors" - whenever something was "wrong" with someone, they went to see the priests. If the priest considered the person's condition to be odd / suspicious and the priest would declare that person unclean / defiled for a certain amount of days (up to 2 weeks). If the priest declared someone impure, they had to quarantine for the said period and once that period was over, the priest would again examine the person to determine if they are clean or not yet.
From this portion we can learn that the words that comes out of our mouths could defile our garments. The Bible is clear that Yeshua is coming back to fetch a clean and spotless Bride. And if we gossip and slander and do things which defiles our garments - we won't be able to stand before the King of Kings as a spotless Bride.
In this portion, we are faced with the fact that the things which comes out of our mouths have the ability to defile us and make us impure. It's not what goes into our mouths that makes us impure, but what comes out of our mouths.
When we live life as priests - like we are called to do and reminded of in Leviticus - then we are not supposed to be involved in gossiping. Not being the one who gossip, nor being involved in conversations where others gossip.
The Bible is clear that life and death lies in the tongue. And thus when we slander or gossip, we don't speak life over that person's life. In fact, we are speaking death over them. Which is contrary to the instruction which we have received in the Bible. Right from the get go in Genesis, we are instructed to choose life in all situations we face.
The original Hebrew word which was used for the Ten Commandments when it spoke about "you shall not murder"... it actually says "you shall not remove somebody's life from them." And that's exactly what gossip does. You either speak life OR you speak death. And gossiping about others definitely does not speak life!
Life should continuously come forth from our lives. If we speak things that do not bring forth life, we are not only speaking death over their lives. But we are also defiling our own garments.
The instruction we have received is to speak and pursue life. And instead of speaking death over others when we choose to gossip and slander... We should start to pray for those people and start to bless them. And we will be amazed at how our hearts change when we start to do this!
As believers in Yeshua, we are all called to a life of priesthood. And as priests, our lives should bring forth life! Back in the time of the tabernacle, the priests' lives were examples to others on how to live according to Abba's instructions. In the same way, our lives today should also be an example to non-believers. If we gossip and slander like the rest of the world does, how will we draw others to God? But if we live from a place of life and act in a way that's life-giving - other people will notice and say that they also want what we have. Calling ourselves believers comes with one massive responsibility! And far too often we forget about that responsibility and only focus on the benefit there is for us through following Yeshua. But we always have to keep the bigger picture in mind. And the bigger picture is Abba's entire Kingdom - and not just me, myself and I. The highest value in the entire Torah is LIFE! And we have to be honest with ourselves regarding our words and our actions and ask ourselves if it brings forth life.
When the priests declared someone to be unclean/defiled due to a skin condition, and that person had to go into quarantine... It was not to isolate that person. But it was done to enable that person to "regain" their life and position in the community once they were healed. Thus it was about preserving that person's life. The went into quarantine so that they will have the time and opportunity to heal properly. The priests had to examine the individuals and then made a finding on whether the person had to quarantine or if the person could stay in the community. From this we can learn that when we have differences (which is perfectly normal) with others - that we should address those issues with the individual(s) involved. Instead of gossiping about the issue and discussing it with others - we should go to the relevant persons and talk through the issue with them!
When you gossip, you break unity. The Bible says in Psalms 133:3 that where there is unity - God commands a blessing.
How we speak about others affects what our garments look like. When we speak badly about others, it affects our garments. We become a Bride with a blemished dress, unpure and defiled.
This portion (Tazria) is a reminder for all of us to not speak about people, but to speak to people. We need to minister to others and help one another to grow and to get rid of the blemishes on our wedding garments!
This week's second portion is called "Metzora" which means "leper". And after working through the first part (Tazria) of the double portion - it's starting to make sense why these two portions have been combined.
In this portion, we read about the procedure which someone had to go through when they have been declared unclean / to have leprosy. After the person is deemed to no longer be infected / unclean, there were sacrifices which had to be made and the person had to go through a cleansing process.
Part of the process of cleansing included shaving of all hair. In the Bible, hair was seen as a symbol of glory. Thus by shaving off your hair, it portrays this image of someone whom have lost their glory. And in this case, it's a result of leprosy.
For today's day and age, we can see this leprosy as a form of sin in our lives. And this sin (whatever it might be) - is stripping us from our glory which God intended for us.
In Romans we read that anything which is not done in faith, is sin. I don't know about you, but that's a harsh reality. This can be widely applied, for example - fear is the opposite of faith. Thus fear is the leprosy (sin). Fear does not bring forth life. Faith brings forth life. Fear brings forth death.
Once the person who had leprosy has completed their quarantine period and went through the cleansing process and offered the required sacrifices - they are declared as clean again. This once again confirms the value and the weight of the words which we are speaking. We read in Matthew 18:18-20 that whatever we bind up on earth (through our words and actions), will also be bound up in heaven. And whatever we loosen up on earth, will also be loosened up in heaven. That carries a whole lot of weight. And more so - a whole lot of responsibility!
We have to get into Abba's rhythm and that includes living out Matthew 18:18-20. We have to declare His Words and His promises over us and our lives. And also over the lives of others. If we do that, we pursue life and it's part of walking in our callings as priests.
Yeshua's ministry is a ministry of restoration. He died on the cross to enable us to be restored into God's perfect plan. Therefore, since we are called to be followers of Yeshua and to walk in His Image - our lives should also promote restoration. Our lives should take us back and closer to Him. But it should also lead others to restoration.
When restoration takes place, we are made free from the thing(s) which held us captive or held us back from going forward in life. And very few believers live in this freedom. We have to take this restoration for ourselves and apply it to our lives. We have been made free and we have to live like it. We have been restored and we should testify of it. We should remind others that they have also been made free and can be restored.
You and I have been forgiven. We don't have to forget what happened in the past. If we cling to the worldly lie that we have to "forgive and forget" - we'll never have a testimony to share of what God has done in our lives. How can you have a testimony of what God has done for you if you have to forget about the past? The entire "forgive and forget" principle goes against the Bible. Yes! We have to forgive, there's no doubt about that. But we shouldn't forget. When we remember where we have been and what we've been through in life - we can claim our restoration and testify of Abba's goodness and grace in our lives!
We have been forgiven. And it's time to accept that you have been restored and set free from whatever it is that you are still being held back by. All whilst remembering those things which Yeshua has set you free from - so that your life can be a testimony unto others - which will lead them to Yeshua.
The same applies when we have to forgive others. When we refuse to forgive (not forget) what others have done to us or how they have hurt us... then we keep them in bondage. And we are part of the reason why they cannot fully accept that they have been forgiven. It's hard to believe that God has forgiven you for your past, when the people around you are not willing to forgive you. Thus e have a major responsibility to release those who have wronged and hurt us. We have to forgive them and bless them. This does not take them off the hook like nothing happened before. Abba will deal with them for what they have done and how they have treated you. It's not your job to do that. Your job is to forgive them and live in such a way that both you and those whom you have forgiven will be able to experience Abba's redemption plan for our lives.
Abba is calling each one of us to be part of His ministry of reconciliation and not part of the enemy's ministry of condemnation - where we keep ourselves and others in bondage. We have been set free, we have been redeemed. We have been reconciled. So this double portion is a reminder to all of us to live like we have been set free and like we have been reconciled!
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Portion 26: Tazria / Metzora (This blog you are reading now)