24th of Tamuz, 5774
Parashat Masei


Children's Parshat

Parashat Tazria

[Hebrew] Tazria
Leviticus (Vayikra) 12:1 – 13:59

Birth

HaShem spoke to Moses, telling him to speak to the Israelites and say: When a woman conceives and gives birth to a boy, she shall be ritually unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during the time of separation when she has her period.

On the eighth day, the child’s foreskin shall be circumcised. Then, for 33 additional days, she shall have a waiting period during which her blood is ritually clean. Until this purification period is complete, she shall not touch anything holy and shall not enter the sanctuary.

If she gives birth to a girl, she shall have for two weeks the same ritually unclean status as during her menstrual period. Then, for 66 days after that, she shall have a waiting period during which her blood is ritually clean. When the purification period for a son or a daughter is complete, she shall bring to the priest, to the Communion Tent entrance, a yearling sheep for a burnt offering, and a young common dove, or a turtle dove for a sin offering.

The priest shall offer the sacrifice before HaShem and atone for the woman, thus cleansing her of the blood coming from her womb. This law applies whether a woman gives birth to a boy or to a girl.

If the woman cannot afford a sheep, she shall bring two turtle doves, or two young common doves, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering. The priest shall then make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.

The Leprous Curse

HaShem spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: If a person has a white blotch, discoloration or spot on the skin of his body, and it is suspected of being a mark of the leprous curse on his skin, he shall be brought to Aaron, or to one of his descendants, who are the priests.

The priest shall examine the mark on the person’s skin, and if the hair on the mark has turned white, and the mark appears to have penetrated the skin, then it is the leprous curse. As soon as the priest sees it, he shall declare it unclean. However, if there is a white spot on the skin, but it does not appear to have penetrated the skin and its hair has not turned white, then the priest shall quarantine the affected person for seven days. The priest shall examine the person on the seventh day and if the mark has not increased in size, the priest shall quarantine the victim for an additional seven days. The priest shall examine him again on the seventh day, and if the mark has faded or if it has not spread, the priest shall declare the person clean, since it is merely a white discoloration. The person must immerse his body and clothing, and he is then clean. However, if the white discoloration increases in size on the skin after it was shown to the priest, who purified it, the person must show it to the priest again. If the priest sees that the rash has increased in size on the skin, he shall declare the person unclean, since it is the leprous curse.

Healthy Skin in a Spot

When a person is suspected of having the leprous curse, he shall be brought to the priest. If the priest sees that there is a white blotch on the skin, and it has turned the hair white or that there is an area of healthy skin inside the blotch, then it is a chronic leprosy in his skin, and the priest must declare it unclean. He shall not quarantine it, since it is obviously unclean. This is the law if the leprous area spreads over the skin, so that it covers all the skin of the afflicted person from head to foot, wherever the priest can see it. When the priest sees that the leprous discoloration has covered all the person’s skin, he shall declare the afflicted person clean. As long as he has turned completely white, he is clean.

However, on the day that healthy skin appears on the person he is unclean. When the priest sees the healthy skin, he shall declare the person unclean. The healthy skin is a sign of uncleanness, since it is the leprous curse. If the healthy skin turns white again, the person shall come back to the priest. When the priest sees that the afflicted person has turned completely white, the priest shall declare him clean, and he is then ritually pure.

Leprosy on an Infection

This is the law when there is an infection on the body and it heals. If a white blotch or bright pink spot then develops where the infection was, it must be shown to the priest. The priest shall examine it, and if it appears to have penetrated the skin and its hair has turned white, it is the leprous curse that has erupted over the infection. However, if the priest examines it, and it does not have white hair, nor does it appear to have penetrated the skin since it is a dull white, the priest shall quarantine the person for seven days.

If this spot then increases in size on the skin, the priest shall declare it unclean, since it is the curse. However, if the spot remains stable and does not expand, it is scar tissue from the infection, and the priest shall declare it clean.

Leprosy on a Burn

This is the law when there is a burn on the body, and a bright pink or white spot appears where the burn has healed. The priest shall examine it, and if the hair on the spot has turned white, and the spot appears to have penetrated the skin, it is the leprous curse breaking out on the burn. Since it is the leprous curse, the priest shall declare it unclean.

However, if the priest examines it, and the spot does not have white hair, and it is a dull white which does not appear to have penetrated the skin, then the priest shall quarantine it for seven days. On the seventh day, the priest shall examine it, and if it has increased in size on the skin, the priest shall declare it unclean, since it is the leprous curse. However, if the spot remains stable and does not increase in size, or if it has faded, then it is a discoloration due to the burn. Since it is merely scar tissue from the burn, the priest shall declare it clean.

Bald Patches

This is the law if a man or woman has an affliction on the head or beard. The priest shall examine the affliction, and if it appears to have penetrated the skin and has fine blond hairs in it, the priest shall declare it unclean. Such a bald mark is a sign of the leprous curse on the head or beard. However, if, when the priest examines the bald patch, the affliction does not appear to have penetrated the skin, but it does not have black hair in it, the priest shall quarantine the person afflicted by the bald patch for seven days.

On the seventh day, the priest shall examine the mark. If the bald mark has not increased in size, and if there is no blond hair in it so that the mark does not appear to have penetrated the skin, the person shall shave himself, without shaving off the bald patch. The priest shall then quarantine the person having the bald patch for a second seven day period. The priest shall examine the bald patch on the seventh day, and if the area of fallen hair has not increased in size, or if the affliction does not appear to have penetrated the skin, the priest shall declare it clean. The person must then immerse his body and clothing, and he is clean.

However, if the bald patch increases in size after he has cleansed himself, the priest must examine it again. If the bald patch has increased in size, the priest need not look for blond hairs, since it is automatically unclean. But if the bald patch remains the same, or if the black hair grows on it, then the bald patch has healed and it is clean. The priest shall declare the person clean.

Dull White Spots

If the skin of a man’s or woman’s body becomes covered with white spots, the priest shall examine it. If the skin is merely covered with dull white spots, it is a simple rash breaking out on the skin, and it is clean.

Baldness

If a man loses the hair on his head, it is simple baldness, and he is clean. Similarly, if he loses hair near his face, it is merely a receding hairline and he is clean.

However, if he has a bright pink mark on his bald spot or where his hairline has receded, it may be a sign of the leprous curse on his bald spot or hairless forehead. The priest shall examine it, and if the blotch on his bald spot or hairless forehead is bright pink, then it is like leprosy on the skin of his body. The person is considered afflicted by the leprous curse, and he is unclean. Since he is unclean, and the mark is on his head, the priest must declare him unclean.
When a person has the mark of the leprous curse, his clothing must have a tear in it, he must go without a haircut, and he must cover his head down to his lips. ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ he must call out.

As long as he has the mark, he shall remain unclean. Since he is unclean, he must remain alone, and his place shall be outside the camp.

Discoloration of Garments

This is the law when a garment has the mark of the leprous curse. It can be woolen cloth, linen cloth, linen or wool threads meant for the warp or woof, leather, or anything made of leather. If a bright green or bright red area appears in the cloth, leather, warp or woof thread, or in any leather article, it may be the mark of the leprous curse, and it must be shown to the priest.

The priest shall examine the mark, and quarantine the affected article for seven days. On the seventh day, he shall examine the affected area, and if the mark has increased in size on the cloth, the warp or woof thread, the leather, or the article crafted from leather, then it is a malignant leprous mark, and it is unclean. The cloth, the warp or woof thread, whether wool or linen, or the leather article containing the spot must be burned. Since it is a malignant leprosy, it must be burned in fire.

However, if, when the priest examines it, the mark has not expanded in the garment, the warp or woof thread, or the leather article, the priest shall order the article having the mark to be scrubbed and then quarantined for a second seven-day period.
After the mark has been scrubbed and quarantined, the priest shall examine the article, and if the mark has not changed in appearance, then even if it has not expanded, it is unclean and must be burned. It is a mark of decay that can be on the smooth or fluffy side of the cloth. If the priest examines it after it has been scrubbed and quarantined, and the mark has faded from the cloth, then he shall tear off the mark from the cloth, the leather, or from the warp or woof threads. If the mark then appears again in the same cloth, warp or woof thread or leather item, it is infected, and the article having the mark must be burned in fire. If the mark is removed when the cloth, warp or woof thread or leather article is scrubbed, the article shall be immersed this second time, and it is clean.

This is the entire law concerning the mark of the leprous curse in wool or linen cloth, in warp or woof thread, or in any leather item, through which it is rendered clean or unclean.


Next Week’s Parsha : Metzorah Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33
Next Week’s Haftara: II Kings 7.3-20