Thursday, April 21, 2005

III-6 AchareiMot Blame it on the Scapegoat

21 April III-6 AchareiMot Blame it on the Scapegoat

Torah: Lv 16-18:30 JPS

Haftorah: Ez 22:1-19 JPS


1. Lv 16:1-17
2. Lv 16:18-24
3. Lv 16:25-35
4. Lv 17:1-7
5. Lv 17:8-18:5
6. Lv 18:6-21
7. Lv 18:22-30


Acherei Mos insitutes the Day of Atonement referring to the deaths of Nadab and Abihu. The High Priest received two he-goats. One was sacrificed; the other was released into the wilderness--similar to the rite of purification and return of the leper into society found in Metzora. After repentance, sins are forgiven. The parasha continues with prohibitions regarding eating blood representing the essence of life and closes with the prohibition against Moloch Worship with the list of prohibited sexual relationships. The parasha is strongly linked to the story of the Golden Calf (Ki Thissa) and Metzora the Leper. Repentance and redemption are main themes. Regardless of how bad you are, you can always turn and take a step closer to God.


"Aaron shall take the two he-goats and let them stand before the Lord at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; and he shall place lots upon the two goats, one marked for the Lord and the other marked for Azazel. Aaron shall bring forward the goat designated by lot for the Lord, which he is to offer as a sin offering; while the goat designated by lot for Azazel shall be left standing alive before the Lord, to make expiation with it and to send it off to the wilderness for Azazel." Lv 16:7-10 JPS Transl

"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities and transgressions of the Israelites, whatever their sins, putting them on the ehad of the goat; and it shall be sent off to the wilderness through a designated man. Thus the goat shall carry on it all their iniquities to an inaccessible region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness." Lv 16:21-22 JPS


Daily, headlines greet us with CEO's, political leaders, military authorites, and government officials, confronted with their negligence or corruption, instantly refuting the allegations by asserting that they are innocent. The CEO of didn't know about the falsified accounts; Enron executives had no idea of their corruption; the DOD had no inkling of the abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba, but certainly all those of Arab descent rounded up in the witch-hunt of Ashcroft were guilty of terrorism by genetics. After all there's always a scapegoat to shove over the edge.

In Metzora, the Kohen Gadol goes to examine the metzora outside of the camp. Through the ritual of purification, he is declared clean on the eighth day. The metzora brings two doves. One will be sacrificed and the other set free. In Acharei Mot, two identical he-goats are brought before the Kohen Gadol. Goats have a long history symbolizing the man's wilder nature. Pan the goat-footed god, represents pantheism; when the hedonistic nature of man is out of control, he represents bacchic orgies and sexual excesses. The goat appears on a Czech beer label brewed in Velke Popovice with obvious implications. A goat is also a lecherous old man.

What about these two goats? In Metzora, one bird is sacrificed; the other set free. During the days of the Second Temple, the second goat was led outside of the city to a high cliff and then shoved off.

They represent two ways of living: one, dedicated to God, consumed by the fire burning within us; the other, led astray and often pushed over the edge through reckless living.

They symbolize the relationship of Jacob and Esau, the twins, whose lives were irrevocably altered by an altercation over a bowl of porridge. They represent two diverse elements within each of us. Esau was red and hairy, a man of the field and a hunter. He stalked game, living a earthly life. He had few spiritual aspirations with his heels dug in the earth.

Jacob, we are told, spent his time in the tents studying. He wrestled with an angel. He was not content to be limited to the physical restraints of this earth, but struggled to overcome them and conquer the divine.

"By way of explanation the Midrash offers the following idea:

This goat [the scapegoat, called sair in Hebrew] refers to Esau, as it is written: "but my brother Esau is a hairy [written as soir in Hebrew] man" (Genesis 27:11) [The Hebrew words sair, "goat," and soir, "hairy" are spelled identically.]

[It is further written]: "The goat will bear upon itself all their inequities (avonotam)." In Hebrew the word avonotam can be split into two words avonot tam, meaning "the inequities of the innocent." This is a reference to Jacob about whom it is written: "Jacob was a wholesome (tam) man" (Genesis 25:27). The word tam in Hebrew means wholesome or innocent. (Bereishis Rabba 65:15)"

AISH: Acharei Mot The Scapegoat

The two goats symbolize of the two-part process of repentance. First, recognize and confess errors with the willingness to sacrifice them. Reject them. Confessing evils is not true teshuvah; it can be another form of sin through vanity. Joyce the Obese sits in the bakery, eating whipped cream while lamenting the levels of blood sugar. Bewailing the doctor's warnings does nothing to control the appetite and illness. It becomes a flag, opportunely waved to announce the scourge of diabetes and short breath, while Joyce indulges in personal suffering and false remorse. If Joyce wanted to lose weight or control diabetes, the warnings would be applied. Moreover, rather than moaning about lugging the extra tonnage, Joyce would be charting daily exercise. Sins become a vanity of our lives like the thief bragging about the Mona Lisa in his bedroom. We become enamoured by our own corruption, wallowing in it narcisstically, using it to control others. We become the god of our lives, vaunting our personal vanities and shunning the Eternal Judge.

Secondly, repentance requires turning away from the sins and not indulging them again. We must immolate the past to free ourselves for the future.

God's judgment is not like man's. A crime on earth makes the person accountable. Murder requires redress—a prison sentence, or in some cases, a death penalty. Claiming innocence doesn't alter the process and many innocent spend time in prison. With God, judgment is different. When a person confesses his sins and changes his life, he is a new man. God does not punish the new man for what the old one did..

Don't mouth prayers. Examine yourself. Make the required internal changes. We see only the superficial levels of human existence, but God examines all that is hidden.

Each of us is made in the image of God with a spark from the Etermal Being. Whether we tend that spark to burn within us or live for the moment, a person with clay feet, depends on us.


"the priest shall go outside the camp. If the priest see that the leper has been healed of his scaly affliction, the priest shall order two live clean birds...The priest shall order one of the birds to be slaughtered...and he shall set the live bird free in the open country."

III-5 Metzora Lv 14: 3-4, 7 JPS

"The next day Moses said to the people, "You have been guilty of a great sin. Yet I will now go up to the Lord; perhaps I may win forgiveness for your sin." Moses went back to the Lord and said, "Alas, thes people is guilty of a great sin in making for themeselves a god of gold. Now if You will forgive their sin [well and good]; but if not, erase me from the record that You have written!" II-9 Ki Tissa Ex 32:30-32 JPS

Yanki Tauber, Ki Tisa Good as Gold

Rev Samuel Rapaport, Tales and Maxims from the Midrash, Exodus Rabbah
"Moses, in pleading for the Israelites against their projected destruction for making the golden calf, had recourse to all sorts of, excuses in order to avert the threatened punishment." See page 107-108 Exodus Rabbah 43 -44

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Tazria: The Leprosy of Irresponsible Speech

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Metzora: Is it Basphemous to Heal People?

Rabbi Yehudah Prero, Repentance: A Story


Aish Acharei Mot The Scapegoat

Rav Kook: Acharei Mos: Ox and Goat

Rabbi Yehuda Prero, Yom Kippur: A Lesson For life

Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi's Notebook-Acherei Mos/Kedoshim: In Bounds

Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi's Notebook-AchereiMos/Kekdoshim: Of Demons and Goats

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsha Insights-Acharei Mos 5758

Kolel, I-6 Toldot 5765
regarding the contrasting temperaments of Jacob and Esau

Yanki Tauber, Toldot: Jacob and Esau
based on the Lubavitcher rebbe Schneerson's teachings
gives a contrasting picture of the twins

Kolel, Acharei Mos 5762

Kolel Acharei Mos 5763

Yanki Tauber, Withdrawal and Return
based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. regarding Nadav and Avihu in relationship to Yom Kippur

Rabbi Shimon Felix, Acharei Mot: The Sanctity of Elemental Relationships
My Jewish Learning

Rabbi Aron Tendler, Rabbi's Notebook 5764 : Of Death, Selfishness and Service

Jewish Encyclopedia:


Fall of Angels

Day of Atonement



Sin Offering

Related Suite Parasha

II-4 Beshellach In Over My Head
going through the Ein Sof, transformation

II-4 Beshellach In Over my Head

II-9 Ki Thissa A Golden Opportunity

II-9 Ki Thissa A Golden Opportunity

III-5 Metzora The Kohen and the Metzora

III-5 Metzora The Kohen and the Metzora

III-3 Shemini
regarding Nadab and Abihu

III-3 Shemini When Tragedy Strikes

Friday, April 15, 2005

III-5 Metzora: The Kohen and the Metzora

14 April III-5 Metzora: The Kohen and the Metzora

Torah: Lv 14-15:32 JPS

Haftorah: Mal 5:4-24 JPS


1. Lv 14:1-12
2. Lv 14:13-20
3. Lv 14:21-32
4. Lv 14:33-53
5. Lv 14:54-15:15
6. Lv 15:16-28
7. Lv 15:29-33


The parasha continues with the themes of Tazria, examining the Metzora exiled outside the community. The Kohen is to go to the Metzora for an examination after the seventh day. If he is healed he is to make a sacrifice and return on the eighth day—the same day as brit milah or circumcision, symbolizing spiritual rebirth and re-entry into the covenant of God. The Eighth Day then is a day of redemption, of renewed commitment to God. The ritual for purificaiton of the Metzora mirrors the ritual of the consecration of the priests with the acknowledgement of rededication of life to God's laws. Man made in the image of God, reaffirms his desire to live in God's image.


" When it has been reported to the priest, the priest shall go outside the camp. If the priest sees that the leper has been healed of his scaly affection, the priest shall order two live clean birds, cedar wood, crimson stuff, and hyssop to be brought for him who is to be cleansed." Lv 14:1-4 JPS

The Lord passed before him and proclaimed: "The Lord! the Lord! a God compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in kindness and faithfulness, extending kindness to the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin..." Ex 34:6-7 JPS

"Moses took some of its blood and put it on the ridge of Aaron's right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toes of his right foot." Lv 8:23 JPS


The Kohen will go to the metzora (leper) who has been banned outside the camp. The word metzora is related to "motzi-ra" which means, "one spews evil from his mouth," therefore the parashas of Tazria and Metzora do not refer to the physical illness of leprousy, but a spiritual ailment associated with lashon hara. Lashon hara is generally described as evil speech or gossip. A person who goes about slandering everyone is indeed a social leper, easy to spot and shun. Equally so is a person who always find the negative in all things. No matter what happens, there is the negative slant and feedback. The child comes running home, excited that he got an 89% on his spelling test, but the parent slaps him with the deprecating remark, that 89% isn't 100%. The child, squashed by the sharp remark, no longer has any reason for pursuing success. It becomes senseless to do things well when the response is so devastating. It's true that the father probably would also have missed spelling, "athlete" or "pronunciation," but the difference is that when he sends out his emails, he hits the key for the spell-check rather than learn it correctly.

The representative of the highest level of spirituality must seek out the lowest. How many times does tht happen in life, where the mayor of the city goes along the backstreets of the town to find the most notorious offenders in an attempt to draw them back into society? Not too often.

When the metzora is declared healed, he offers two doves. One is sacrificed while the other is set free. The rite of purification is similar to that of the installation of priests. "The priest shall some of the blood of the guilt offering, and the priest shall put it on the ridge of the right ear of him who is being cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot." (Lv 14:14)

Why? Through our ears we are tempted. We hear something and we run to follow it. We are educated and indoctrinated through what we hear. Each day, we should remember that we are called to be children of God, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is One..." The exhortation is not for passive listening such as our response to schmaltzy elevator music or the din that accompanies each foray into the local Carre Four hypermarket; but demands our attention. Mhy neighbor had a rule for calling her wayward children home. After the third halooing, the switch came out as she stalked the alley. Appalled, I often watched, but she reassured me that the switch meant business. They had basic rules and protocals established for the kids which they regularly discussed with them. One of them was arriving home at dinner time and the punishment for not heeding the parental voice.

Simplistic? Yes, for a three year old, it is an immediate lesson learned by a loud swishing noise and smack, but no extended punishment. The chief purpose was to make a loud noise and instill a bit of fear for the consequences of heedless behavior. In adult life, nobody is going to bring the swatter along behind a person, but the warning still remains. When a person becomes heedless of God, the consequences occur naturally. Listening is meaningless unless we do something. We must not only hear, but do-- with our feet walking in the right direction.

Moreover, the pairing of the Kohen with the Metzora reflects the personal dilemma within each person, torn between our Yetzer HaTov and Yetzer Hara, our Good and Evil Inclinations. Our Good Intent often goes and begs with our Bad Bear when we are pouting in a snit at the world or contemplating doing something unethical or prohibited. Each person has the potential to reach a higher level of spirituality; but it's often easier to be the loser, the person who gives in to wrongdoing and comment, "the Devil made me do it." So much easier to equivocate rather than take responsibility for one's own actions.

Moreover, the pairing of the Kohen and the Metzora is comparable to the Tzaddik and the Baal Teshuva—the saint and the penitant. A tzaddik focuses exclusively on resources which he emlists for the service of God. He looks up and sees the glory of God in the universe. Everything else is kind of background fuzz in his vision of life. He instinctively sees and seeks the good to live in the image of God. The Baal Teshuvah looks down and sees his feet are made of clay and knows that his name is frequently spelt as Mud. He struggles with the obstacles of life to overcome them, wrestling like Jacob wrestled with the angel. We are made of conflicting interests, desires and actions. We make choices, often based on incomplete information, emotional responses or sensory perceptions. We hear and we follow. We see and we desire. Our hands reach for what we should not touch and our feet go in the direction that we should shun. We too, are invited back into the social milieu, into the community when the time of our spiritual cleansing is past, and it is God who seeks us, just as He called after Adam in the Garden. What is our response? Do we answer honestly or cover ourselves and cower. God is always in search of man, but man so often avoids the confrontation.


"Slaughter the ram, and take some of its blood and put it upon the ridge of Aaron's right ear and on the ridges of his sons' right ears, and on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet..." Ex 29:20 JPS

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Tzav: Ears, Thumbs, and Toes

Yanki Tauber, I-7 Vayeitzei A Day in the Life of a Jew
based on the writings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Schneerson
gives good explanation and contrast of tzaddik and baal teshuvah

Yanki Tauber, II-9 Ki Tisa: Sin and Sanctity

regarding the Tzaddik, the Baal Teshuvah and the Sinner
see halfway down the page


Rav Frand, Tazria 5761: Two Birds: One For 'Evil Speech' and One For 'Good Speech'
"Adam had the best situation imaginable. He was sitting in the Garden of Eden. Angels fed him. Nothing could be better! But then the Snake came and argued - "Nah! It's not so perfect. You do not have the Tree of Knowledge; you are not god-like!" The Snake looks at a situation that is virtually perfect and finds fault with it. He focuses on the flaw.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Tazria: The Leprosy of Irresponsible Speech

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Metzora: Is it Basphemous to Heal People?

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann, Olas Shabbos Tzav 5762: The Olah Offering: Minding Our Own Business

Rashi: "Eyes and heart are the two major agents for sin. The eyes see and the heart desires until one ultimately goes ahead and sins."
III-2 p55

Nr 15:39 Do not stray after your thoughts and after your eyes.
III-2 p 55

Andrea C London, Living Torah-Torah Hayim TazriaMetzora 5764:Healing is More Than Skin Deep URJ

Yanki Tauber, Knowledge and Naught

Rabbi Label Lam, Dvar Torah Tzria-Metzora 5764: The Eye of the Microscope

Rabbi Rosenfeld, Pirkei Avos 1:6

Pirkei Avos 1: 6

Pirkei Avos 1: 6 Joshua the son of Perachia and Nitai the Arbelite received from them. Joshua the son of Perachia would say: Assume for yourself a master, acquire for yourself a friend, and judge every man to the side of merit. (transl

Rabbi Aaron L Raskin, Tzaddik-The Baal Teshuvah from Letters of Light
"When a child is born, he is administered an oath, “Be a tzad­dik and do not be wicked.”20 From birth, every individual has the ability to become a tzaddik.21 If one constantly recalls the existence of this oath, he or she can undoubtedly bring it from potential into reality."

Yanki Tauber, Yom Kippur: Inner Dimensions- Sin in Four Dimensions
based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rabbi

Thursday, April 07, 2005

III-4 Tazria: Social Leprosy with a Jaundiced Eye

7 April III-4 Tazria: Social Leprosy with a Jaundiced Eye

Torah: Lv 12-13:59 JPS transl

Haftorah: 2Kgs 4:42-5:19 JPS transl


1. Lv 12:1-13:5
2. Lv 13:6-13:17
3. Lv 13:18-23
4. Lv 13:24-28
5. Lv 13:29-39
6. Lv 13:40-54
7. Lv 13: 55-59


Tazria is concerned with the laws governing childbirth,"brit milah"-circumcison and tzar'as-"leprosy" with its associated physical and spiritual impurities. Tazria balances birth with its hope of new life and creativity with warnings of degenerative disease that corrupt the person, physically and spiritually, appearing in the clothes and home and extending to society. Tzara'as or "leprosy" is a spiritual and physical illness, corrupting the life of a person. Only the Kohen administered diagnosis. Rabbinical interpretion explores the passage metaphorically, acknowledging that spiritual corruption is contagious and, unless isolated, is a malignant cancer in society. Isolation is imposed on contagious diseases: scarlet fever or diptheria. Such plagues fall on the good and the bad, the innocent and the guilty, but "tzara'at", frequently translated as leprosy, is asssociated to "lashon hara" –slander. Slander and gossip corrupt society, defacing it as a degenerative disease that mutilates the body while robbing it of its functions.


"As for the person with a leprous affection, his clothes shall be rent, his head shall be left bare, and he shall cover over his upper lip; and he shall call out, "Unclean! Unclean!" He shall be unclean as long as the disease is on him. Being unclean, he shall dwell apart; his dwelling shall be outside the camp." Lv 13: 45-46 JPS

"He who guards his mouth and tongue
Guards himself from trouble" Prv 21:23 JPS

Social Leprosy with a Jaundiced Eye

The punishment seems injust. Contemporary readers exclaim, "How barbaric!" presuming the Kohen to be a witch doctor attending a physical ailment, conducting a magical ritual. Misconception arises from inaccurate translation, relating the malady to the known physical disease, associated with noses and fingers rotting away and people dying in putrid conditions of leper colonies.

This is not tzara'as. Year after year, preachers spout polemical diatribes, regarding the cruelty of Judaism and the compassion of Jesus with the leper, exacerberating the conflict. This is not leprosy, the dreaded physical illness; but a spiritual rot formenting in the hidden depths of the soul and emerging in the superficial appearance of a person's house, clothes and ultimately his body. Ostracism occurs only after every other precaution has been taken, with exacting detail, in the forty-third verse. The rabbis, concerned with the well-being of the individual, expanded these passages, preserving discussion in the Talmud and adding further commentary throughout the centuries.

Tzara'as is a spiritual ailment afflicting the person and his environment. Tzara'as is related to "metzora" derived from "motzi ra" -- to bring out evil-- specifically the sin of "lashon hara." What is "lashon hara"? Speaking evil, uttering the negative, spreading gossip. Rabbi Tendler advises us to learn about a particular problem in Torah, look for the first appearance. Lashon hara first appears in Genesis 3:1-5, "Did God really say you shall not eat of any tree of the Garden?" The snake incites doubts, questioning the authority of Eve's understanding. Other appearances of "leprosy" and pestilence/ plague are related to speaking evil or thinking or formenting the negative: Ex 4: 6-7 (Moses protests that the Israelites will not heed him); Ex 32:35 (aftermath of Golden Calf); Nr 12:10 (Miriam speaking against the Cushite); and Nr 13:32, 14:11-12 (in response to the negative reports of the ten spies).

Tzara'as is declared impure, "tamai / tumah" since the condition is unwholesome and associated with death, rather than life. Destructive and corruptive, it brings spiritual death.

Rabbi Frand explains that there is a second meaning hidden in the text of Lv 13:55, providing further enlightenment, "the Kohen shall look, after the affliction has been washed, and behold (if) the affliction has not changed its appearance (lo hafach es eino) and the affliction has not spread, it is contaminated, you shall burn it in fire..." * Frand explains, "lo hafach es eino," means the appearance shall not change, but the text contains a wordplay: the eye has not changed . Talmud teaches there is a tzara'as associated to "tzoras ha-ayin"-narrowness of eye or an evil eye. This interpretation provides deeper understanding of the entire passage. A jaundiced eye does indeed bring death and makes all things impure. What was good, becomes twisted and corrupt. A person's perception can distort their vision of life, corrupting and tainting their actions.

Tzara'as was a supernatural condition in ancient times after the Israelites entered into Canaan to the time of the temple. The Kohen were trained to detect particular signs to assist the person correct his way of life. Tzara'as appeared in three forms: dwelling, clothes and body. The most superficial level was discovered in the walls of a house, but as the plague intensified, it appeared in the clothing until ultimately in the person's body. Each level allowed the person to make teshuvah, to change his ways. At the most intense level of physical affliction, change becomes virtually impossible. Someone, addicted to alcohol or drugs, goes through an intensive program not only to purify the body of the accumulated poisons, but to reprogram psychology. Going into dry-dock does not cure the problem of addiction. Afterwards, the person must alter his entire lifestyle. He must change destructive habits to constructive; a negative environment to positive; corruptive buddies to supportive friends. He must change the external influences as well as his internal. Both are requisite to make a full recovery.

A sufferer of moral tzar'as need look inside himself for the cause destroying his life and examine his environment to make productive changes. Changing the environment is relatively easy, but each person is a turtle, carrying his shell on his back. Ultimately, we must live with ourselves. It's very difficult to be friendly with a porcupine, although they say the porcupine has a very soft heart.

The progression of tzara'as from the superficial to the innate isolates the person, not the Kohen or the society. Do you sit by the squalid drunk on the metro? The stench of his clothes repels company. The condition did not happen overnight, but resulted from a progressive disease eventually destroying his life. At different times, opportunities of reversal existed until finally, it became an irreversible loss of a once valuable life. At each level of tzara'as, the Kohen visits the person. With each visitation, recovery is possible; but recovery depends on the person to change his life. Just as an alcoholic must recognize the destructiveness of his condition, someone suffering tzara'as, involved with lashon hara or having a jaundiced eye, must acknowledge it before healing occurs.

Obstinancy in pursuing a destructive life results with the person becoming an anathema to the community. Ostracism then happens.

In Vienna, a diplomat suffered discoloration and swelling in his feet. He went to the doctor for diagnosis. The diplomat ate large amounts of Danish butter. In fact, his refrigerators were packed. The doctor prescribed a diet and proscribed Danish butter. The diplomat continued his way of life. The toes turned black, swelling increased until extreme gangrene. Ultimately, the diplomat flew to Canada where his leg was amputated. It's easy to blame the doctor, but he did his job conscientiously. Who created the condition? Who refused to reform? Is the doctor culpable? No. We are responsible not only for what we ingest, but what we produce: physically and spiritually.

* Rav Frand, Tazria 5762
contains the Medrash of rabbi Yannai and the peddler

An Evil Eye- Pirkei Avos 2:16


"But Moses spoke up and said, "What if they do not believe me and do not listen to me, but say: The Lord did not appear to you?"...The Lord said to him further, "Put your hand into your bosom." He put his hand into his bosom; and when he took it out, his hand was encrusted with snowy scales!" Ex 4: 1, 6-7 JPS

"As the cloud withdrew from the Tent, there was Miriam stricken with snow-white scales! When Aaron turned toward Miriam, he saw that she was stricken with scales. And Aaron said to Moses, "O my lord, account not to us the sin which we committed in our folly. Let her not be as one dead, who emerges from his mother's womb with half his flesh eaten away." Nr. 12: 10-12 JPS


Rabbi Loevinger, Kolel 5760, Tazria
" Thus the Talmud interprets this verse as teaching that the afflicted person's publicizing of his plight was not to bring him shame, but to bring him the prayers and compassion of the community. (Moed Katan 5a; Sotah 32b)"

Rabbi Roderick Young, Tazria: A Gay Perspective on Persopective and Disease
"Tzara'at was interpreted by the Rabbis of the Talmud as being the manifestation of a very particular sin. A person with tzara'at is called a metzora (usually translated as "leper"). To the rabbinic ear, this sounded like the words "motzi ra," ("bring about evil") which in the phrase "motzi shaym ra" means "to spread slander about someone." Tzara'at was therefore understood to be a specific warning against gossip and slander."

Rabbi Andrea Lerner, Tazria: Clean Up Your Act
""Rashi: And (he) shall cry, "Unclean! Unclean!" announcing that he is unclean, so that (people) should withdraw from him.
He shall dwell alone, "(Other) unclean people shall not dwell with him. And our Rabbis have said, 'Why is he different from other unclean people to dwell alone?' Since he caused a separation through evil talk (lashon hara) between husband and wife, or between a man and his friend, (therefore) he also should be separated (isolated).""

Yanki Tauber, Tazria Metzora: The Runaway Soul
on creating a balance between "ratzo"-escape and "shove" settling down

Kolel, Tazria-Metzora 2002/5762
the story of rabbi Yannai and the peddler hawking the Elixir of Life

Rabbi Loevinger, Kolel 5760, Tazria

Rav Frand, Tazria 5757 Learning A Lesson From G-d Through Punishment
" When a person speaks Lashon Horah, the first sign from G-d is "Look at the wall". If a person reacts at that point, realizes that he has spoken Lashon Horah, and decides to repent and take corrective action...But what happens if the person doesn't react and doesn't take the suffering as an instructive lesson from G-d? Then things get worse and worse. ...

Happy is the person who has the foresight and the insight, the perception and the honesty, to react in the correct fashion when something like this happens. "

Rav Frand, Tazria 5761: Two Birds: One For 'Evil Speech' and One For 'Good Speech'
"Adam had the best situation imaginable. He was sitting in the Garden of Eden. Angels fed him. Nothing could be better! But then the Snake came and argued - "Nah! It's not so perfect. You do not have the Tree of Knowledge; you are not god-like!" The Snake looks at a situation that is virtually perfect and finds fault with it. He focuses on the flaw.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, Tazria: The Leprosy of Irresponsible Speech

Rabbi Lauren Berkun Eichler, Tazria 5763

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann, Olas Shabbos Tazria 5760: Getting Beneath the Skin

Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann, Olas Shabbos Tazria 5759: Not in Heaven!

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsha Insights Tazria 5761

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, Parsha Insights 5758


Rav Kook, Shemini: Purity by Immersion

Rivkah Slonim, Tazria-Metzora:The Mikvah
The greneral how, what and why of a Mikvah and its significance for Jewish community and family life

Mikveh Org

The Laws of Family Purity
a collection of links

Ritual Purity
a collection of links