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Parshat M'tzora


Picture a 13-year-old boy keeping a straight face while delivering a bar-mitzvah speech about a "...man (having) a discharge issuing from his member" and how his "bedding...shall be impure...". Shabbat Mom, jokes that she's the real-life Sophie Portnoy, but even she wouldn't ask her prince of a son to deal with that!

Following last week's discussion of leprosy, M'tzora details the purification rituals necessary for an afflicted person to return to the community after his skin has cleared: he offers "two live birds, cedar wood, crimson stuff and hyssop." The portion continues in gory detail about male ejaculation and a woman's "discharge being blood from her body", and how to resolve related contaminations. Represented here is what happens when G-d "...inflict(s) an eruptive plague upon a house in the land you possess...of greenish or reddish streaks...". After "....the stones have been pulled out and after the house has been scraped and replastered, the priest shall come to examine...".Ugh. This may all seem like Biblical TMI, but on the other hand, it is a remarkable example of the Torah's ancient practicality.

Shabbat Shalom!

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