The Hebrew words ‘zara’ [זרע (seed, sow)], ‘tsara’ [צרע (leprosy, the disease)] and ‘m’tzara’ [מצרע (leper)] have 2 letters in common – resh and ayin. Resh and ayin are the Hebrew word ‘ra’ meaning evil, bad, and as James Strong says, “figuratively to make (or be) good for nothing …(physically, socially or morally)”. The addition of other letters changes the meaning of Hebrew words, thus ‘zara’ now becomes a positive and productive word when the Zayin is put on the front of it.
‘Zara’, the seed that you sow, begins with Zayin, the 7th letter of the Alef Bet, which is identified both as a sword, sometimes viewed as a scepter, and as having a crown. Whether the Zayin has a sword, a scepter or a crown, or all three, depends on the Rabbi you’re listening to. However, there is only one entity these three disparate symbols can represent: Yeshua. Yeshua has the sword, the scepter to back up the sword’s authority, and a crown, plus He is the promised ‘zara’, the promised seed.
From the Resh and Ayin, ‘ra’, evil, comes another word – ‘tsara’ [צרע (leprosy, the disease)]. ‘Tsara’ [צרע (leprosy, the disease)], begins with ‘Tsade’ instead of the Zayin. ‘Tsade’ is associated with word ‘tsadik’, or righteous. It is a disease of those who are expected to be righteous but who have unrighteousness showing in their flesh. Leprosy exposes what is going wrong on the inside of the ‘tsadik’ by showing it up on the outside where everyone can see it.
M’tzara, the name of today’s Torah Portion, has an added ‘mem’ [מצרע mem tsadee, resh ayin] on the front of ‘tsara’ [מצרע mem tsadee, resh ayin]. The ‘Mem’ is the Hebrew letter associated with water, the womb and the belly. The ‘m’tsara’ is the person who has the disease ‘tsara’/’tsara’at’.
The ‘Mem’, the belly, is the place where our true selves reside. In there is where we make decisions about our life, whether to feed the flesh or YHVH’s Spirit that dwells in us. In the belly is where we simmer over situations, hiding our thoughts and plans. It is also the place from where bitter roots can grow. The hair in the sore of the leper represents a little tree that is growing in the spirit, and all trees have roots. In this case, the tree sprout, the hair, pushes through the sore on the skin like a seedling pushing through soil. It is something we have sown into our flesh by not dealing properly with our situations.
Leprosy is a disease of mercy letting us know we have a problem that is now beyond our own ability to solve. It is now a disease that needs exterior cleansing and the help of a priest to achieve that. The priest examines and then re-examines again after 7 days. This allows the allow the patient a chance to deal with the internal situation for 7 days. If the introspection is successful and has resulted in repentance, the person will not need to have a prolonged quarantine but he still has to present himself for inspection again and bring the required sacrifices on the day of his cleansing.
He brings 2 living clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop (Leviticus 14:4) all of which are associated with Yeshua. The 2 birds are similar in function to the 2 goats at Yom Kippur. One goat dies, the other is set free. Here, 1 bird dies, the other is set free.
The sacrificial bird dies over running water over an earthen vessel. The running water is living water and the earthen vessel represents the leper who is being cleansed.
The bird that dies represents Yeshua’s sacrifice for internal unrighteousness and the death of the disease in us. The living bird dipped in the blood of the sacrificed bird that was killed over the running water, represents Yeshua washing away our sins.
Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood;
His blood does not cover us. It is much better than that! Rather, it washes away our uncleanness and sin in His living water.
The cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop are the elements associated with the red heifer. In her slaughter, these are the cross, the blood and cleansing power of Yeshua.
Lev 14:7 He shall sprinkle on him who is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird go into the open field.
Seven times indicates a return to YHVH’s path and an agreement with YHVH that He is the Creator, our God and our King, and that we are willing to submit to His cycles of seven and His Law to maintain our restored cleanness and righteousness.
The living bird is now free to go to the “open field”, out into the world to live life renewed.
Lev 14:8 “He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water; and he shall be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, but shall dwell outside his tent seven days.
Washing our clothes is symbolic of a new start, a fresh beginning in which we face our renewed life. Bathing washes away uncleanness that comes from living life. It is not a sin to live life but it is a sin to stay in our states of uncleanness. We are commanded to stay ritually clean at all times, with or without a Temple. The Laws of clean and unclean are not dependent on having a Temple. So bathing cleans us up.
Shaving symbolizes a new slate, a new start in life as one filled with YHVH’s Spirit which goes back out into the world with a wonderful story of salvation!
He must live outside his tent for 7 days to look at and face the possible spread of his disease over his public persona represented by his house and clothing. Leviticus 14:33-53 about leprosy in clothing and houses deals with making sure that the renewed man’s surroundings won’t bring his disease back on himself.
Notice in verse 34 that it is YHVH who puts the spreading mildew in the house. A person who sees this must recognize it as a message from YHVH. We often cannot see that we have a problem within so YHVH gives us the clue in the spreading mildew of our house as a sign that we have a problem. It isn’t the house that has the problem. That’s just the sign. The problem has to do with ourselves.
Our house and clothing are not “just” the house and clothing. They represent how we present ourselves to the world and what others see in us. Our house is our public persona and our clothing is our personal persona. We are often different inside our homes than we are out walking around in our clothing. So, our house and clothing represent different external expressions of ourselves and we must be careful that our external expression is in line with the standards set forth by YHVH. There must not be anything unclean seen “on” us, in our house (public persona) or on our clothing (private persona). We should act righteously wherever we are.
There are two overarching numbers in the chapters about clean and unclean. These numbers are 7 and 8. The 7 days is particularly important because it realigns the unclean person with YHVH’s agenda which is expressed in the number 7. He is the Creator and our agreement with Him in this is paramount to us knowing that He is YHVH.
Lev 14:9 It shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his body in water, then he shall be clean.
The shaving happens on the 7th day in preparation for the new beginning on the 8th day.
Lev 14:10 “On the eighth day he shall take two male lambs without defect, and one ewe lamb a year old without defect, and three tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a meal offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
So there is an atonement ritual on the 8th day, the day after the 7th day of purification bathing and shaving ritual, in which 2 male lambs and a 1-year-old ewe are brought for sacrifice. These are a trespass offering, a sin offering, and a burnt offering.
Lev 14:11 The priest who cleanses him shall set the man who is to be cleansed, and those things, before Yahweh, at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
Notice that the cleansing of the leper happens at YHVH’s house, not ours.
Lev 14:12 “The priest shall take one of the male lambs, and offer him for a trespass offering, with the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before Yahweh.
Lev 14:13 He shall kill the male lamb in the place where they kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the place of the sanctuary; for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering. It is most holy.
Lev 14:14 The priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it on the tip of the right ear of him who is to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.
Putting blood on the right ear, right thumb and big toe of the right foot appears similar to Aaron’s consecration ceremony. This one for the leper is also a consecration, not as a priest, but as connected back to the altar like when Moses connected the congregation and the altar in Exodus 24. The leper loses all rights and benefits of the altar. He cannot bring any sacrifices or attend any feasts. He is, in fact, an exile. The blood on the 3 areas of the body reconnects him to the altar.
Last week, I talked about those who usurp authority. There are other sins that can lead to leprosy, too. Gossip/slander, coveting, jealousy, anger, inciting to rebellion and rebellion, revenge, egotism/arrogance. Here is some other advice from Paul.
2Co 6:14 Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?
2Co 6:15 What agreement has Christ with Belial? Or what portion has a believer with an unbeliever?
2Co 6:16 What agreement has a temple of God with idols? For you are a temple of the living God. Even as God said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
2Co 6:17 Therefore “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.
2Co 6:18 I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.”
TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING
1-Yeshua touched an older post-menopausal woman.
Mat 8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother laid, and sick of a fever.
Mat 8:15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
This mother was probably past menstruation age. Also, she had a fever, not a discharge.
2-Woman did not touch Him. She touched His garment.
Mat_9:20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
Mat_9:21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
The woman did not touch Yeshua. She touched His garment.
3-Woman touched with a barrier, hair
Luk 7:37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
Luk 7:38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Perhaps this woman used her hair was a barrier between herself and Yeshua’s feet.
4 0 Marry did not touch, might have if Yeshua had not told her no
Joh 20:16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Joh 20:17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Was it a common practice for the female disciples to touch Yeshua? Some read it that way saying that Yeshua had to warn Mary against doing her common practice. Or it could be that Yeshua knew Mary would be so startled that she might rish toward Him and, in her startlement, touch Him to see if she was seeing correctly or if this was her imagination.
But would she have touched Him face to face or perhaps falling at His feet and touching His feet?
“Touch no unclean thing” as stated by Paul indicates that the law of Moses was not done away on the cross in Paul’s opinion contrary to what some Christians teach. Paul doesn’t have the authority to change or discard the Law, anyway. Given Israel’s past and current doctrines in many areas, almost everyone thinks he has some kind of authority which he does not have. YHVH has always and only required His Israelite people to obey, something we have yet to see them do after 3500 years!
People say the laws of clean and unclean went away after there was no longer a Temple. Not true, otherwise Yeshua would have told the disciples that the Law would be rescinded and would not have commanded us to pray that the Father’s Kingdom come to the earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is governed by the Law of YHVH from long before there ever was an earth, a Moses or a cross! YHVH says He does not change, therefore His Law cannot change.
So now, let’s talk about not touching the unclean. We know that if we sin by accident we are forgiven when we repent, according to Leviticus 1-5 in the laws for unintentional sins. What happens if we touch an unclean person? Are we sinning? No. However, if we forget bathe and be unclean for the specified period of time, we make ourselves an unintentional sinner. If we blew it off, we become a deliberate sinner.
It is not a sin to be unclean. It is a sin to ignore the Laws regarding how to get and stay clean. And no, we cannot say that because we took a shower that day, it was alright. Mikvahs for cleanness are special and specific and aside from any other water bath we may take.
For those interested in staying ritually clean before YHVH, chapter 15 certainly makes one not want to be touched or touch others. I advocate for men and women not touching each other, ever. Lots of people have become, and some still are, angry with me over this.
It is better for us not to be so “touchy-feely” for the reason of the possibility of becoming unclean. Some say we are already unclean so what difference does it make?
First of all, if we say we are unclean, we undo the cleansing afforded to us by Yeshua’s precious blood.
1Jn 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
1Jn 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1Jn 1:10 If we say that we haven’t sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
The water rituals which are required for uncleanness due to discharges of mucus, blood, semen, etc. are a necessary adjunct in our walk.
2Co_7:1 Having therefore these promises, beloved, let’s cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
There are many and better ways to express our love for each other than touching. I agree with Paul when he says:
1Co 7:1 Now concerning the things about which you wrote to me: it is good for a man not to touch a woman.
But what about same gender touching such as handshakes and hugs? I take the hard line on this but most people can’t do it. It is best for men not to touch men and women not to touch women because we don’t know what their current condition is and most people won’t tell you they are unclean for that day. We love people but we love the Kingdom more and the Kingdom requires us to make the effort to stay clean and get clean when we have become unclean.
What about places where unclean people sit? I have suggested something that seems objectionable but which is necessary and possibly not so objectionable after all. Men and women who are unclean and who need to sit should carry with them a pillow or towel to place on their seat before sitting down. Small effort, big payoff. Doing so is a public declaration without having to say, “I’m unclean today”, and if we all did this, there would be less or no stigma attached to being unclean. This would also tell everyone else whose hand you can shake – man to man and woman to woman.
If women were to use the pillow or towel during their monthly periods, everyone would know their pregnancy status, too. We want to hide it until we can make the big announcement but if women were using the seat protection and were then not seen using it for a long time, everyone would know there is a baby on the way. This is a source of community celebration not just an event awaiting a big announcement.
I have offered some very different suggestions than what you may have heard before.
LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES
Luk 12:1 In the meantime, when there had gathered together an innumerable crowd of people, so as to trample on one another, He began to say to His disciples first, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
The Pharisees and the Sadducees had come to Him by asking Him to prove that He is the Messiah by showing them a sign from Heaven (Mat 16:1, Mark 8:11).
Mat 16:2 He answered and said to them, When it is evening, you say, Fair weather; for the sky is red.
Mat 16:3 And in the morning, Foul weather today; for the sky is red and gloomy. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot see the signs of the times!
Mat 16:4 and Mark 8:12 A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign [to prove who the Messiah is] (If they knew the Father, they would know who Yeshua is (Joh_8:19)).
As He was leaving them standing there to go to the other side of the Galilee (Mark 8:13), He said the only sign they would get was the sign of Jonah.
Both Matthew and Mark record that the Disciples had forgotten to bring enough bread with them. Yeshua used the bread problem to teach them the same lesson again.
Mar 8:15 And He charged them, saying, Take heed! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the leaven of Herod.
Mar 8:16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [He says this] because we have no loaves.
Mar 8:17 And knowing it, Jesus said to them, Why do you reason that it is because you have no loaves? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Have you still hardened your heart?
Mar 8:18 Do you have eyes and do not see? Do you have ears and do not hear? And do you not remember?
Mar 8:19 When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many hand baskets full of fragments did you take up? They said to Him, Twelve.
Mar 8:20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many lunch baskets full of fragments did you take up? And they said, Seven.
Mar 8:21 And He said to them, How do you not understand?
Mat 16:12 Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
What is the leaven of the Pharisees? Religion. What is the leaven of Herod? The philosophies of the world! Religion and the world are the same thing but this is hard to understand. It takes work and a lot of paradigm shifts to see the Kingdom with religion and the world superimposed over it temporarily.
If you’ve seen the Matrix movies, you know what I mean about the two worlds that co-exist, some knowing about the co-existence and some not knowing at all. Religion causes that. Religious doctrine from any religion – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, nature religions – blind people to YHVH’s truth. The leaven of religion is false doctrine.
The home Passover seder is a Rabbinic invention from the Jews’ exile in Babylon. YHVH’s people are supposed to gather at Jerusalem, the place of YHVH’s name, for all of the Feasts even though we cannot do the sacrifices at this time.
Deu 30:1 And it shall be when all these things have come on you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and when you shall call them to mind among all the nations where Jehovah your God has driven you,
Deu 30:2 and shall return to Jehovah your God and shall obey His voice according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, with all your heart, and with all your soul,
Deu 30:3 then Jehovah your God will turn your captivity. And He will have compassion on you, and will return and gather you from all the nations where Jehovah your God has scattered you.
The sense of what Moses says here is that we are to do everything the Law allows: Keeping the laws of clean and unclean, the food laws, the laws on how to approach YHVH and how to treat our brethren and the laws of the Feasts. Our hearts should want to do the utmost and in the case of the Feasts, the utmost is going to Jerusalem.
Zephaniah 3:18 I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.
The one Hebrew word that is translated “for the solemn assembly” is ממועד. M’moed. Literally: From moed or from Feast.
‘Moedim’ is the word for YHVH’s Feasts plural. Moed and moedim are used hundreds of times in scripture. Translating it as “for the solemn assembly” is a poor rendering. Zephaniah literally says: I [that’s YHVH speaking] will gather them that are sorrowful [‘yagah’ in Hebrew] for the Feast.
What Feast is this talking about? The one Feast that sets the exact dates for the entire year – Passover!
If you do a Passover meal anywhere but in Jerusalem, you are putting yourself under Rabbinic authority. Our people are twisting themselves into knots trying to avoid the Rabbis by setting their own calendars but then they go ahead and eat the Passover meal away from the place of YHVH’s name against His express instructions! They don’t even know they are still under Rabbinic authority. Rather, we must recognize that we are being punished in our exile and mourn because we cannot go to the King’s capital city!
What does this entail? Mourning in this context means to be repentant. It is Biblically customary to fast and to sit in sackcloth and ashes. Most of us do not have sackcloth or ashes but we can fast for the Passover meal, and the Shavuot and Sukkot meals, as well.
Daniel fasted for 3 weeks during the Passover season.
Dan 10:1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed to Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar. And the thing was true, and a great conflict. And he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
Dan 10:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks.
Dan 10:3 I ate no pleasant bread [chamad lechem], neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, until three whole weeks were fulfilled.
From the 1st day of Nissan to the 21st he fasted or possibly from the 3rd day to the 24th. How do I know this when the month is not mentioned here? Because on the 24th day of the 1st month Daniel had a vision and he tells us what day and month it was when he had it.
Dan 10:4 And in the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Tigris,
Dan 10:5 then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man was clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz.
YHVH sent him the vision because of his deep mourning. In chapter 9, we read that Daniel had read Jeremiah’s prophecy of 70 years. In chapter 10, it is 2 years later and it is Passover season. Daniel knows YHVH’s prophecies relate to His Feasts. The Jews are not yet released from Babylon and Daniel is mourning this situation at the Passover season.
Daniel did not eat the flesh of lamb or partake of the wine that is usually at the Passover table, though wine is not commanded. He did not prepare himself for the feast by anointing, either.
The pleasant or desired bread of Passover is unleavened. He desired to eat the unleavened bread, the lamb and drink the wine but fasted from it, instead.
We are not told whether Daniel fasted for Passover during the other years. But given Zephaniah’s prophecy, we can conclude a principle which is that YHVH would rather that we fast while we are in exile instead of acting like we are not in exile and not being sorry for the mess we’re in.
Please consider not doing the leavened Passover ceremonies of the Jews and not putting yourself under Rabbinic authority by doing a Passover seder in your own home.
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