From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/mtzora
M’tzora (מְצֹרָע — A Leper) – Leviticus 14:1–15:33
The Eternal One spoke to Moses, saying: “This shall be the ritual for a leper at the time of being purified .” – Leviticus 14:1-2
- Priestly rituals to cure tzaraat (a skin condition) when it afflicts humans are described. (14:1-32)
- Rituals to rid dwelling places of tzaraat are presented. (14:33-57)
- The parashah denotes male impurities resulting from a penile discharge or seminal emission. (15:1-18)
- The parashah concludes with accounts of female impurities caused by a discharge of blood. (15:19-33)
HAFTARAH – Shabbat HaGadol
SHABBAT HAGADOL / שַׁבָּת הַגָּדוֹל
Shabbat before Pesach
Shabbat HaGadol for Hebrew Year 5782 begins at sundown on Friday, 8 April 2022 and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 9 April 2022. This corresponds to Parashat Metzora.
Shabbat HaGadol (“Great Shabbat” שבת הגדול) is the Shabbat immediately before Passover. There is a special Haftarah reading on this Shabbat of the book of Malachi. Traditionally a lengthy and expansive sermon is given to the general community in the afternoon.
From Reform Judaism https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/mtzora
By: Rabbi Ben Spratt
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH and REFLECTION
You can read this week’s full Torah Portion at https://www.sefaria.org/Leviticus.14.1-15.33
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
מצרע M’tzora – Leviticus 14:1-15:33
Restoring Ritual Purity by Elaine Goodfriend, pp.657-658
Parashat M’tzora (“a person with tzaraat,” that is, a skin affliction) completes the laws in Leviticus about impurity. Along with the preceding parashah, Tazria (Leviticus 12–13), this parashah deals with laws about individuals afflicted with nega tzaraat, sometimes translated as “scaly disease” (the traditional translation as “leprosy” is somewhat misleading; see below) and with genital discharges.
Reflected in this passage is the Torah’s notion that certain actions and physical conditions produce an invisible, airborne pollution that invades the Sanctuary, the dwelling place of the divine Presence. (The Torah’s theology, like that in the extant literature of Israel’s ancient neighbors, imagines that the Deity can simultaneously dwell in a temple and in heaven, and that the earthly sanctuary is a smaller replica of its heavenly counterpart.) If the impurity is not disposed of, the accumulated pollution could cause Israel’s God to abandon the Sanctuary, an event thought to bring about national disaster.
It should be emphasized, however, that in Leviticus tzaraat does not imply any sin on the part of the individual and that God is not depicted as the cause of tzaraat (except when it strikes the house; see at 14:34). For a rationale for Israel’s impurity laws, see the introduction to Leviticus 14 [an excerpt follows below].
Leviticus 15 is one among several biblical texts that have played a role in forming the Israelite and Jewish attitudes to menstruation. The perspective in this parashah lacks the stigma attached to menstruation in other biblical passages (see at 15:24). In Leviticus 15, the woman and man are equally impure if they have sexual relations while the woman is menstruating; the purification period and process for each is identical (15:24).
The Hebrew term niddah refers to a menstruant woman or menstruation. Niddah renders a woman impure, just as a man’s seminal ejection renders a man impure, and their impurity contaminates whatever they touch or sit on. The major difference, however, between a male’s ejaculation and female menstruation is the duration of impurity: since menstruation lasts longer, the woman is in the impure state considerably longer than the man.
According to Leviticus, what are the practical consequences for the person who is deemed ritually impure? The impure person may not “touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary” (12:4). Parashat M’tzora offers us a detailed account of restrictions placed upon the menstruant as well, but it does not provide a complete picture of the ways that menstruation was viewed in ancient Israel. On the practical impact of menstruation on a woman’s life, see at 15:20.
[From the Introduction to Leviticus 14 (p.659): …The Bible’s ideas about purity are linked to the association of Israel’s God with life–as the Creator of life, whose life is eternal and whose laws give life. Thus the prophet Ezekiel calls the Torah’s legislation “laws of life” (33:15), while according to Psalm 116:9, one who walks with Israel’s God journeys in the “lands of the living.” Impurity, or estrangement from God, results from certain physical states that were associated with death. For example, a human corpse is a potent source of impurity that infects a house and the living people within it (Numbers 19). The association of tzaraat with death is evident from Numbers 12:12, when–after Miriam has been “stricken with snow-white scales”–Aaron implores, “Let her not be as a stillbirth [literally: a dead person], which emerges from its mother’s womb with half its flesh eaten away!” This suggests that the appearance of the person afflicted with tzaraat was–at least in one form of the disease–akin to that of a disintegrating corpse (see at 14:4). The priest in Leviticus is charged with diagnosing no other disease except for tzaraat, which also indicates the symbolic nature of this condition.]
Another View – by Rachel Havrelock, p. 672
By moving from a state of ritual impurity to one of ritual purity, the everchanging human body serves as the index for the transformation of identity. The person departing from the state of m’tzora (a person with tzaraat, conventionally translated as a “leper”) follows about ten steps that separate the ritually pure form the ritually impure state. The spectrum between the pure and the impure becomes apparent in the gradations of being outside the camp, then inside the camp but outside one’s tent, and finally inside the community and inside the home. That the ritually impure state is transitional becomes apparent in the time-bound nature of each stage. The body passes through the various stages and is likely to cross several borders between ritually pure and impure over the course of its existence.
As the body undergoes the permutations of ritual purity and impurity, the impure body is sometimes exiled–but not abandoned to its exile. The appearance of a priest outside the camp (14:3) signals that exile is ephemeral and that restoration will begin. No particular priestly category fixes the body, but rather it moves through a full range of categories. This sense of the body as changeable and the potential reversibility of its status are what underlie prophetic notions that sinful actions can be retracted and dire fate averted.
Focus on the body emphasizes the changes undergone by the self in the process of becoming another self. Signs on the body gauge identity and mark transformation. When the sick are healed, their bodies bear the proof. Yet one’s body is not only an indicator of change but also a vessel of memory. Illness and trauma are remembered by nerves, muscles, and scars. The body that gives birth will forever maintain a link with its offspring. The body attests to change as well as to the indelibility of experience. Therefore descriptions of identity, predicated as they are on the language of body, convey the tension between the possibility of change and the integrity of forms.
This year Pesach begins the evening of Friday, April 15. Most Reform Jews celebrate seven days as in Israel. Others observe eight days ending on Saturday, April 23, 2022. Please refer to the 3/31/22, 4/2/22, 4/5/22 and 4/7/22 emails (and any updates) from Dr. Sam Caron, Congregational President, about the plans for a Temple Kol Hamidbar community Seder at 6 PM on Saturday, April 16. The emails include some details on the pending Seder as well as a Safe Gathering Policy. Please RSVP as soon as possible.
UPCOMING SIGNIFICANT DATES
- Sefirat Ha’Ómer (Counting of the Omer) – April 16-June 4
- Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) – April 27-28
- Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day) – Tuesday May 3-4
- Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (Israel Independence Day) – Wednesday May 4-5
- Pesach Sheni (Second Passover) – May 14-15, 2022
- Shavuot (Feast of Weeks – Giving of the Torah) – June 4-6, 2022
From “Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur”:
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 8 Nisan through 14 Nisan, we lovingly remember:
Friend of TKH member Iris Adler
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom this evening, Friday, April 8, 2022. Mary Caron will lead Torah Study and Dr. Sam Caron will lead the service.
Zoom regularly updates its security and performance features. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening with wine/grape juice for Kiddush and Challah for Motzi.
Topic: Torah Study – Metzora (triennial part) Lev 14:33-15:33
Time: April 8, 2022 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: April 8, 2022 07:30 PM Arizona
To join Torah Study and/or Shazoom click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser] – THIS IS DIFFERENT ACCESS THAN USUAL AND APPLIES TO THE FOLLOWING DATES:
Apr 8, 2022
Apr 15, 2022 (Erev Pesach)
Apr 22, 2022
To Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 871 7959 0686
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat!
PS – An early Chag Pesach Sameach – Paskue Dulce – Zissen Pesach!