Tazria-Metzora

  1. Hugely controversial area. Why does a girl result in longer impurity? Some say girl brings more eventual death – but it isn’t true. Genghis Khan had many more kids than any woman – all of whom eventually died. I think it is about the woman’s own death. She has undergone an enormously dangerous process. Why? To carry on the generations. To fight time. A girl reminds her of her own mortality in a way a boy doesn’t. And then she atones for her thoughts of limitation. However realistic, they are not Kadosh. It lowers her. Postpardum depression is justified. Why doesn’t the man have the same period of impurity – for him the experience is far less visceral. We don’t even know if he’s the father. Interestingly, after 33 or 66 days she can come to the mikdash. Odd that there’s no mechitzah.
  2. Initially there are very few Kohanim. But they multiply and there end up being too many to possibly serve in the Mishkan. So what do they do? They aren’t judges. Instead, their franchise seems to be tzarat checking. In the Mishkan, they repair breaches of Kedusha and bring people higher. But in the field, I’d submit that they are the white blood cells of Kedusha – actively rooting out sources of impurity.
  3. It seems the unclean person is very publicly saying “Unclean, unclean!” The very strange thing is, the sufferer is outside the camp, presumably with others like him. So who is he saying “Unclean” to? I would answer: both to himself and Hashem.
  4. The offering to be cleansed is the same as with parah aduma: cedar, hyssop (possible zaatar or oregano) and scarlet. From the sense perspective we have smell (cedar), taste (zaatar/oregano) and sight (scarlet). These are the senses which lead to sin. We aren’t sure which sin, but certainly a misconception of the Good. These are the senses Chava used. Hearing is absent. After the offering, we are sprinkled with blood – and reminded that our senses could have led us to death.
  5. Atonement and elevation offerings. Why both? Because the goal of the process isn’t just to repair the person, but lift them up. How?
  6. Here we see stone houses getting tzarat. Surely there are other kinds of houses. Why do stone houses get focused on. Perhaps because stone houses are vessels of conceit. You feel more important in a stone house. Not proud, but conceited. Taking it full circle we can apply conceit to our earlier points. The idea that you can judge what is good without hearing G-d is conceit. You need the Kohen to be diagnosed showing your limitations, you need to be shamed to help diminish your conceit, and you need to say “unclean” to complete the process and eliminate it from within. Finally, you bring an offering to Hashem to identify the source of Kedusha and, by virtue of its reinforcement, find yourself elevated.
  7. This is not ‘knowing your wife.’ This is literally “laying down with semen.” It is physical only. When you do this, you’re unclean. If you see Kedusha as the conversion of creative acts into timeless spiritual energy, then you’ve wasted potential for Kedusha by having not using sex as a tool for tremendous spiritual development.

 

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