Torah Portion for week 27: Leviticus 12 – 13
Tazria (She bears seed)
This week’s Torah portion is a difficult section, and chances are you have not heard much teaching about this in your local congregation. There is virtually no area of life that is not covered in the Law of Moses. Even personal and private issues are subject to God’s reign. This is spelled out in explicit detail in this passage, and parts of it may be difficult to read. God wants to be Lord over our whole lives. To the ancient Israelites physical health was at least a metaphor for spiritual well-being, and often the two were more directly linked. This certainly does not mean that all illnesses are the result of sin; that is not the point. Ultimately, these issues are concerned with fellowship between God and his people.
This portion covers issues such as personal hygiene, cleanliness, and skin diseases. There were a variety of skin diseases and those who were afflicted were immediately to be sent to the priests for an examination to answer the question, “Is this person clean, or unclean?” Leviticus 13:46 says, “He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.”
God has always provided a way for us to be made clean. But, we need to have the proper understanding of who he is. We need to recognize that he wants us to be clean and whole. And in his plan, even those who are “outside the camp” are not beyond recovery. This reminds me of a passage in Luke 17:11-19. Yeshua healed ten people who were “outside the camp,” but only one of them understood and appreciated what happened. We read,
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
For most of the world today, leprosy is not the problem it once was. But, there are still many other ways to be unclean in God’s sight. This is the whole reason why Yeshua came – to cleanse our hearts. The lepers in Luke 17 knew they were lepers. It was an undeniable fact. They readily received the gift of being healed, but most of them did not acknowledge the healer. The one who did was a Samaritan, a hated rival of the Jewish people. After receiving the healing, he rejoiced in knowing the one who healed him. Our prayer is that more and more people from around the world, from both Israel and the nations, will recognize their own spiritual leprosy – or sin, as it is usually called – and seek healing from the Great Physician.