parasha Tazria 5782 -The Sanctity of Life
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying: if a woman be delivered, and bear a man child.”
– Leviticus 12:1, JPS 1917 Tanach
According to Torah, the miracle of life, from the beginning, is addressed within the framework of sanctification. That is, both the mother and the child are taken into consideration, in terms of their purification. Both the mother as well as child are given a means to commemorate the birth. This is a life cycle tradition. When a male is born, the mother’s temporary state of impurity is only for seven days; this permits her to be present on the eighth day for her son’s circumcision.
The parashas continues with the laws, in regard to tzarras, a skin affliction, often mistranslated as leprosy. The metzorah (person who contracts tzarras) is diagnosed and quarantined. Because the metzorah has contracted tzarras as a result of lashon hara (literally, “evil speech”), isolation outside of the camp provides time for reflection upon the harm done to the recipient of the gossip. H’Shem willing, the metzorah will be able to return to society, as a result of a tikkun (rectification).
The concept appears within the overall framework of the sanctity required to approach H’Shem. Since H’Shem’s presence dwells within the mishkan (tabernacle) at the center of the camp, the metzorah is separated by way of not being permitted to be in the vicinity of the mishkan. Thus, the sanctity of the camp is preserved; and the metzorah is given the opportunity to do teshuvah (repentance), turning the heart back to Elokim (G-d).