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Browse Torah Articles: Sefer Vayiqra: Parashat Tazria: Two Concepts

Contributed by: R. Ezra Mizrahi

This week, we read two parshiyot, Tazria-Mesorah. They both mainly deal with individuals who become spiritually impure (Tameh) for various reasons. The bulk of the texts deal with a "Mesorah", a person who has "Sara'at" (leprosy) and is spiritually impure.

If one just scratches the surface, beyond the details of purity and impurity, one can see a couple of beautiful ideas in these parshiyot.

1. In last week's parasha, Shemini, we read about all the types of kosher animals, insects, and birds. Parashat Tazria begins with a woman who conceives either a boy or a girl. The Hatam Sofer writes how the order of the parashiyot is similar to creation, in that first animals are mentioned and then man.

However, with regard to describing man the Torah speaks of those who are impure and have sinned (i.e. the leper). The Hatam Sofer says that this is a valuable lesson. Though man is the chosen being of creation, we must not let that idea get to our heads and become haughty, thinking that we are big and powerful. To humble us, the Torah dives into men that are impure, as though to say that man can be great, but man can also sin. We should always remember that though we are the center of creation, we are meager and small with respective to Hashem and His ultimate plan.

2. Early in Parashat Tazria we see that on the eighth day, a male is circumcised.
Why on the 8th day?
It says in the Mechilta:
"Great is Shabbat, that there is no baby who is circumcised until one Shabbat passes [since his birth]"

The reason why we have the circumcision on the eighth day is so that the baby will pass through at least one Shabbat Once the baby experiences the Shabbat, only then is he "rendered holy" and is worthy to enter into the community of Israel with a Berit Milah.

Even misvot that seemingly have nothing to do with Shabbat oftentimes relate to us the importance of the Shabbat. May we continue to observe the Shabbat in accordance with our tradition and halachot, Amen!

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