Tazria is our education in the ritual purification after childbirth. There is much mystery revolving around Leviticus 12 with its purification times and sacrifices that almost no one understands. The rabbis have offered their Talmudic explanations and so do Christian commentators. They say the days of impurity have to do with original sin present in the babies at birth and this is why there must be sacrifices for childbirth. There may be truth in this but in view of the Kingdom perspective, I believe there is another explanation which I will present here.
They also look for the hidden meaning behind the numbers 7, 14, 33 and 66. In doing so, I believe they miss the point. And I will tell you the point in a little bit.
This instruction was given by YHVH to the congregation immediately following the Nadav and Abihu disaster on the 8th day, on the same day they died. But now, let’s start with “when a woman ‘zara’”, otherwise translated as “conceives” or “gives childbirth”.
Leviticus 12:2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, “tazria”…
The Hebrew word for childbirth in this chapter is ‘tazria’ [תזריע Tav Zayin Resh Yod Ayin]. The root word of ‘tazria’ is ‘zara’, seed [H2232, Zayin Resh Ayin [זרע], the root of which is ‘zara’. Adding the Tav at the beginning and the Yod as the 5th letter changes ‘zara’s’ “sowing” meaning to “childbirth”.
The childbirth laws for uncleanness, ‘tamay’, and purification, ‘tohorah’, have to do with a newborn’s entry into the Kingdom of Israel as a citizen not just a member of Abraham’s family.
There is a difference between being a member of a family and being a citizen, although both apply to all Israelites. The difference between a family and a nation is in the numbers and the formalities. To be a member of Abraham’s family, males need to be circumcised in flesh. There were no further enforceable laws governing the family yet. Behaviors were governed by culture, not law, until Abraham’s descendants were numerous enough to become a nation, and even though Abraham kept the Law of YHVH as it would later be given by YHVH to Moses.
Israel is now a nation at this point in Leviticus and there are now enforceable laws to govern. The God and King of Israel can now insist that His Kingdom Law be observed and not violated. These laws have penalties which was not the case when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were doing the Law of YHVH, except for the law of circumcision.
The sign of circumcision only applies to the males of the Abrahamic family but now citizenship will apply to females, too. Now there will be additional laws with rituals beyond circumcision for newborn citizens of the Kingdom, both male and female. This is why the Israelite woman’s conception and childbearing is pegged to ‘zara’ and not ‘harah’ [H2029] or ‘yacham’ [H3179], 2 other Hebrew words that mean “conceive” and “bear” children.
To understand why YHVH used the root word ‘zara’, we will look at its first use in Genesis 1.
Genesis 1:11 God said, “Let the earth yield grass, herbs yielding seeds, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with their seeds in it, on the earth;” and it was so.
The English translate the word ‘yielding’ as zara [H2232 (מזריע)]. Another word for ‘zara’ is ‘sowing’. The next word “seed” is ‘zera’ [H2233] means offspring. Let’s re-translate Genesis 1:11.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herbs sowing zera, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose offspring is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
Genesis 1:12 The earth yielded grass, herbs yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with their seeds in it, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
The operative factor in both verses is the bearing of offspring “after their kind”. Israelites will now bear Israelites. ‘Harah’ and ‘yacham’ simply mean to get pregnant with different connotations. Israel, the Kingdom – the nation – will now bear offspring “after Israel’s kind” to Israel’s King. Another way to say this is that these are now more than members of Abraham’s family, they are citizens. This is an elevation of all the people of Israel – men, women and children, and the burden of making boy and girl babies into citizens rests on the mother’s shoulders.
The family is the model for nations but nations are comprised of many families just as the nation of Israel is now comprised of 12 different families being governed under one nation LAW. The men carried the token of Abrahamic family membership but the women did not. They were part of Abraham’s family because of their man’s circumcision, whether father or husband. But now, YHVH has taken a further step. He has formally created a nation. This is an elevation which requires a formality ritual for citizenship for all babies. Female babies are not secondary members of the nation as they most often are in families. In the nation of Israel, they are full citizens. The mother’s cleansing and purification ritual is the newborn’s citizenship entry whether male or female.
Leviticus 12:2-4 tells us that birthing boys requires the mother to be in her uncleanness, her tamay [H2930], for 7 days. This is the normal time for menstruation. However, she will continue bleeding past this period.
While we’re here, let me address why menstruation makes a woman unclean, tamay. Menstruation is a natural process given to us by God. She needs to menstruate to prepare the womb to remove the dead lining of the womb to receive next month’s fertilizing seed for her seed. Two seeds must meet and marry once a month in the womb. But in most months, this does not happen. When this does not happen, both the woman’s seed and the man’s die. Dying is something that is not a natural part of God’s being. Menstruation is the birth of dead seed.
All death requires 7 days of cleansing including the monthly death of unfertilized eggs. We cannot come before YHVH in an unclean, tamay, condition. Therefore, He gave women a special way to be cleansed every month so her uncleanness does not stay on her and prevent her from coming to Him. He values women as much as men to come before Him.
Yes, I said it that way because there is a thousands-of-years old global culture that views women as “less than” men. Religious men use these laws to claim that females are more unclean than men because, look here, the time for purification after a baby girl is doubled. She must be twice as unclean as the baby boy!
Both the mother and her offspring are unclean tamay and must go through the death cleansing because of the placenta which has now died.
The Septuagint says the mother does the 8th day circumcision in Leviticus 12:3.
Leviticus 12:3 And on the eighth day she shall circumcise the flesh of his foreskin.
Now, both must go through a 33 day ritual purification after which the mother and boy go to the Temple to do the sacrifices. The total time of cleansing tamay and purification tohorah for boys is 40 days.
Leviticus 12:5-6 doubles the time for baby girls. Fourteen days of uncleanness and 66 days of purification for a total of 80 days. Why?
These citizenship rituals revolve around the procreative function. The boy’s procreative function has to do with his circumcision through which is the opportunity he to be a progenitor of the Messiah. The little girl has no such visible procreative function. Rather, hers will not appear until her teenage years. But YHVH does not make her wait for her citizenship until later. She also gets her citizenship at birth.
The difference between the two rituals is only the time factor. The little boy’s time is 40 days. So is the little girl’s. Her ritual parallels her first menstruation tamay and first purification tohorah after pregnancy.
The mother goes through her own cleansing and purification and then she is there for her little girl’s ritual. Forty days for the mother as with the little boy whose citizenship ritual happens on the 8th day or 40 days for the daughter’s ritual. It is a matter of time, not status. It is not possible for the mother and daughter to have combined time. Each must cleanse and purify for her own preocreative process.
YHVH values His women citizens as much as the males. This is not about YHVH’s discrimination against females. It is just the opposite. Females now are every bit citizens of Israel as are males. For females, this is an elevation because as members of Abraham’s family, their only legal rights came through their father or the man they married. Now, women have their own legal right. In fact, women will start to press into their legal status as in the case of Zelophehad. His death caused his 5 daughters, who were his only offspring, to approach Moses about their father’s land inheritance. They had a legal right to the inheritance now as citizens of Israel. They did not need to fear that they would lose their inheritance which could have been the case if they were only female members of a family and not citizens.
Here is an interesting tidbit. Baby boys become citizens on the 8th day; baby girls become citizens on the 80th day. Isn’t that interesting that both the baby boy and the baby girls have the number 8 in their citizenship? Eight, the number of new beginnings certainly applies here!
Let me review again where we are in the giving of this instruction. It comes to the congregation immediately after Nadav and Abihu committed treason against YHVH and died for it on the 8th day. Do you see the connection between Nadav and Abihu’s 8th day calamity, the congregation’s loss of atonement on that day and the 8s in the babies’ citizenship now? The people were scared in that incident, remember? YHVH is now explaining to the non-priestly congregation how they can approach Him and not die.
The incident with Nadav and Abihu occurred on the 8th day of the first month, Aviv/Nissan, in the second year after the Exodus. The special ritual of the 8th day was atonement for the congregation’s part in the golden calf incident which did not get completed. So we are still dealing with the golden calf incident!
The 40 days of purification parallels the 40 days of Moses being on Mount Sinai the second time interceding for Israel and receiving a renewed covenant written on stone tablets instead of crystalline tablets from Heaven. Moses ascended the mountain on Elul 1 and returned on Tishrei 10.
What is Tishrei 10? The day of Yom Kippur! That was the day Moses delivered the renewed covenant on the stone tablets to Israel! The number of days is 40, the same number of days as the purification from childbirth in both male and female babies and their mothers. The 40 days of purification reflects the covenant renewal – Moses on the mountain pleading with YHVH for renewal and purification for His people. This renewal and purification is now required for baby boy and girl citizenships.
Look at the sacrifices that must be given after childbirth. There is more symbolism there which can help us to understand why YHVH gave the arbitrary 33 days of purification to make 40 total days.
Leviticus 12:6 “‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the door of the Tent of Meeting, a year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering:
Which two animals are associated with Yeshua in the New Testament? The lamb and the dove. This particular grouping of sacrifices tells us that new baby Israelites have to be atoned for by the One who is the lamb whose Spirit is also the dove. His sacrifice is the only one that can atone for the golden calf.
Am I saying there would not be a cleansing and purification ritual if the golden calf had not happened? No. I believe it would have been different with a different number of days that may not necessarily have added up to 40 days per person. It may have been 7 days for menstrual cleansing after the death of the placenta and perhaps an additional amount of time, perhaps 30 days, for the woman’s continued bleeding. The number 33 is appears to be an arbitrary number added to the number 7 for the purpose of the sum being 40. There are no easy parallels in scripture for the number ‘33’ though the number 33 does exist in scripture 6 times. The same goes for the number 66 which appears only twice in scripture.
Any purification ritual YHVH gave would have been a standard entry into Israelite citizenship. Instead, YHVH imbued these ritual times and the sacrifices with symbolic meaning. These are not merely to coincide with the number of days that a woman bleeds after birthing a boy versus birthing a girl as some rabbis teach. No. There is way more significance to becoming a citizen of Israel now in that the days of cleansing and purification are reminders to every generation about the golden calf incident!
People don’t understand the far-reaching consequences of the golden calf and Israel’s continued treason against their King, YHVH. They think the golden calf was nothing more than “just Israel’s first sin” which is not a big thing because YHVH forgave Israel. In fact, Judaism teaches this and it seems to be part of the nonchalance of Christianity, too. YHVH did not forgive Israel until Yeshua paid the price. And Yeshua did pay the price for our intentional rebellion of image worship. The next time He comes after His people have been worshiping an even worse image, the beast’s image, He won’t be here to forgive! He is coming to destroy!
The Tazria Torah Portion is about sowing seed that becomes offspring. The tsa’arat, leprosy, section is about sowing, as well. It is about what we sow into our flesh.
The laws of clean [tahor] and unclean [tamei] have to do with not dying when approaching YHVH in His Temple. We must be in as much of a similar state to Him as we can be. He has given us rituals of bathing, purifying and sacrificing which He accepts as our attempt to approach Him in a fit manner. Mysteries aside, these are YHVH’s mercies to us. Thus, we approach him without uncleanness from food, sex, childbirth, disease, death or sin on us. Those are states that are not part of His being.
Here is a list of states which YHVH cannot be part of and in which we cannot approach him:
Food – He does not allow unclean animals near him in His Temple.
Sex – He does not have sexual relations.
Childbirth – He does not give birth. He creates. This is not the same as giving birth.
Leprosy – He does not become diseased even though Yeshua took our diseases, including our spiritual leprosy, on Himself on the cross.
Death – He does not die.
Sin – YHVH cannot sin, He cannot disobey His own Torah instructions, nor is He able to teach disobedience to it.
When we approach Him, we must be as free of these human states as possible. The laws we are learning now are how He has allowed for us to appear in similar condition to Him.
What we sow in our bodies during our lifetimes is often reflected in our physical health. Leprosy, tsa’arath, is a visible indicator of spiritual disease within.
The easy answer for the cause of leprosy comes from Judaism. There, leprosy is caused by lashon hara, evil speech. The problem with this theory is that there is no such phrase as ‘lashon hara’ in scripture. Both words appear in scripture but never together. Judaism defines ‘lashon hara’ as ‘negative speech that is true’. Youtube removed one of my Beast Watch News videos because I told a truth about Judaism that was flagged as anti-semitic, a word that does not exist in scripture at all.
Leprosy comes from a deeper place than our speech although the evidence of our deep spiritual sickness can be reflected in our speech. We must let the scripture define leprosy so we can understand what it is.
Here are some reasons people became lepers in scripture. The first leper was Moses.
Exodus 4:6 And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
Exodus 4:7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
The instant healing of leprosy was for the purpose of the Hebrews believing Moses really had met God on the mountain. It also was a prophecy of Yeshua’s ability to heal us from all unrighteousness. Sing Messiah.
The next leper was Moses’ sister, Miriam, in Numbers 12. She coveted the relationship and authority of Moses so she picked up an offence from Moses’ wife, Zipporah, and used that to start an insurrection against Moses that involved Aaron. She slandered Moses. Her speech was the symptom of that deeper problem.
Numbers 12:1 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married; for he had married a Cushite woman.
Numbers 12:2 They said, “Has Yahweh indeed spoken only with Moses? Hasn’t he spoken also with us?” And Yahweh heard it.
Miriam was using Moses’ Cushite wife’s situation, which was a private matter between Moses and Zipporah, as an excuse to express her jealousy. She gossiped about the situation to Aaron and also expressed a truth which was that YHVH also spoke to them. But that was not enough. Miriam was not struck with leprosy because she gossiped. She was trying to raise herself to the same level as YHVH’s anointed, Moses. This was a combination of coveting which led to gossip, jealousy, inciting to rebellion against Moses and usurping authority, both Moses’ and YHVH’s.
Next in the scripture is the story of Joab.
2 Samuel 3:26 When Joab had come out from David, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the well of Sirah; but David didn’t know it.
2 Samuel 3:27 When Abner was returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the middle of the gate to speak with him quietly, and struck him there in the body, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother.
2 Samuel 3:28 Afterward, when David heard it, he said, “I and my kingdom are guiltless before Yahweh forever of the blood of Abner the son of Ner.
2 Samuel 3:29 Let it fall on the head of Joab, and on all his father’s house. Let there not fail from the house of Joab one who has an issue, or who is a leper, or who leans on a staff, or who falls by the sword, or who lacks bread.”
2 Samuel 3:30 So Joab and Abishai his brother killed Abner, because he had killed their brother Asahel at Gibeon in the battle.
Abner was Saul’s general who killed Joab’s brother, Asahel, during a battle between Saul and David. Asahel refused to stop pursuing Abner at the end of the battle. Abner ran from Asahel and gave him opportunity to stop his pursuit but Asahel continued so Abner engaged Asahel in battle and killed him.
The further problem between Joab and Abner came when Abner decided he wanted to switch sides to become David’s commander, rather than Saul’s, by promising to bring all Israel under David’s reign. Joab was David’s commander and now he would be replaced by the one who killed his brother, Asahel.
Joab had a personal grudge against Abner so he went behind David’s back to kill Abner. It created a situation in which David’s Kingdom could have remained split between him and Saul. David denied ordering Abner’s killing and then cursed Joab’s father’s house with leprosy.
Joab held an unlawful grudge against Abner because Asahel’s death happened in battle, he became jealous of Abner and usurped David’s authority.
The next leper is Uzziah the King. He began to reign at the age of sixteen. His war campaigns and building projects were highly successful and his fame spread even to Egypt (2 Chronicles 26).
2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up, so that he did corruptly, and he trespassed against Yahweh his God; for he went into Yahweh’s temple to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Azariah the High priest and 80 priests followed Uzziah into the Holy Place to stop him.
2 Chronicles 26:18 They resisted Uzziah the king, and said to him, “It isn’t for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to Yahweh, but for the priests the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed. It will not be for your honor from Yahweh God.”
2 Chronicles 26:19 Then Uzziah was angry. He had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and while he was angry with the priests, the leprosy broke out on his forehead before the priests in Yahweh’s house, beside the altar of incense.
2 Chronicles 26:20 Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked at him, and behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out quickly from there. Yes, he himself also hurried to go out, because Yahweh had struck him.
2 Chronicles 26:21 Uzziah the king was a leper to the day of his death, and lived in a separate house, being a leper; for he was cut off from Yahweh’s house. Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.
Uzziah became proud of his achievements and decided to usurp the authority of YVH and the line of Aaron. He then resisted their attempts to correct him.
The next leper is Naaman.
2 Kings 5:1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honorable, because by him Yahweh had given victory to Syria: he was also a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.
We are not given the details of why Naaman but we can now see that leprosy is not limited Israelites. Naaman sought the advice of Elisha to rid himself of it who told him, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall come again to you, and you shall be clean.” (2 Kings 5:10).
This made Naaman angry because he thought the very least Elisha should do was to honor Naaman with his presence. It did not please him that Elisha was unimpressed with his greatness.
2 Kings 5:11 But Naaman was angry, and went away, and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leper.’
Naaman wanted a grand ritual rather than a mere instruction. So far, he is like Uzziah in anger.
2 Kings 5:12 Aren’t Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.
He now is usurping the authority of the Jordan river over the rivers of Damascus in addition to rejecting the prophet’s measly instructions. Fortunately for Naaman, his servants were able to talk sense into him and he did go to wash in the Jordan river.
So far, we have several reasons that could lead to leprosy: Gossip, coveting, jealousy, anger, inciting to rebellion and rebellion, revenge, egotism, but the one thing all 4 accounts have in common is usurping authority. This is a specific act of rebellion directed at Israelite leaders, kings and even YHVH Himself as we saw with Nadav and Abihu, and which we will see from Korah. The Israelites have practiced this from the beginning, from 3500 years ago! It was still a problem by the time Yeshua came. Any of the sins I listed could result in leprosy but the one that seems to always have resulted in leprosy was usurping authority. I think we need to understand how serious it is to usurp authority and not listen to YHVH’s anointed when He gives them some instructions for us.
Luke 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, except Naaman the Syrian.
Four of the lepers who were never healed in Elisha’s time are in 2 Kings 7. Whatever else the lepers of Israel did to get their disease, I think we can safely assume that one of their actions included the usurping of authority.
The leprosy of that time is, according to the medical experts, not the same leprosy on earth today. I don’t believe that. What I believe is that medical science and the scriptural description have gotten divorced from each other.
One thing we know, however, is that tsa’arat is related to the wickedness we sow in our bodies. Our aspirations born of egotism (being puffed up in ourselves and wanting to be big shots), rivalries, contentions, inciting others to be in rebellion with us is the source of the swelling on the skin which indicates these internal sins which others cannot see.
Yeshua came to cleanse us from all unrighteousness including our desire to make a name for ourselves. But we want not to be servants, but bosses.
YHVH allowed leprosy to arise in Israel (they came out of Egypt with it, according to historical sources), as the worst of diseases so that others would be able to look at us and know something had gone wrong with us on the inside and also for Yeshua’s glory as God and healer to shine. How He proved to John the Baptist that He was One who had been sent from Heaven was by telling his disciples:
Luke 7:22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
One last Biblical account before I wrap up:
Luke 17:11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
Luke 17:12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
Luke 17:13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
Luke 17:14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
By the way, they needed to go to Jerusalem. Yeshua did not send them to worship on the mountains of Samaria.
Luke 17:15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
Luke 17:16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
Luke 17:18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
Luke 17:19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.
One of the underlying causes of leprosy must also be ingratitude. Only 1 out of the 10 lepers healed that day showed any gratitude at all! That continues to be the way of people who call themselves by YHVH’s name today!
As bad as leprosy is, let’s understand that it is a beneficial disease. It gives us the opportunity to examine ourselves and be examined and to repent of the deep evil motivations that drive us. It helps the community to stay clean by identifying the unclean so that we may be fit to come before YHVH.
Some may now call me hateful toward the unclean like I don’t care about people. I care about people but I care about the Kingdom more. To the lepers and the unclean I say, look within and repent. Sometimes we have to speak the negative truth which, by the way, is not lashon hara. It is speaking the truth. Did I already say that?
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