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April 21, 2015 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Tazria-Metzora

This week’s portion is primarily about skin diseases.  However, it begins by discussing childbirth, ruling that if a woman has a baby boy, she is ritually impure for seven days (Lev. 12:1).  Rashbam writes that after the first week the “impure blood” surrounding the boy has been eliminated, and so on the eighth day, the child is fit for circumcision.

This strikes me as a bit similar to the last portion.  Last week in shul, the rabbi pointed out that the building of the Mishkan is a bit like creation: a lot of the terminology is similar, and it ends after seven days.  And just as on the eighth day man starts creating the world on his/her own, the Mishkan was inaugurated on the eighth day.  Just as the creation story ends with a sin and man’s awareness of death, the Mishkan story ends with the death of Nadab and Abihu (who apparently may have sinned in some way, as discussed in last week’s dvar).

Similarly, the first seven days of the child’s life are a part of creation, in the sense that the child is not fully part of the Jewish people.  Just as the people didn’t really act during the first seven days of the Mishkan (leaving everything up to God and Moses), the mother doesn’t participate in Jewish ritual life during her child’s first seven days (because of ritual impurity).

Just as Jews recreated the world (after seven days of leaving everything up to God)  by using the Tabernacle, they recreate a baby boy (in the sense of changing his body, and eliminating the mother’s ritual impurity) on the eighth day.

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