Sunday, April 20, 2014

Parshat Metzora, (Leviticus 15:29-15:33), 4/5/14

I received some interesting feedback from yesterday's post. One said, “Almost no Jews...except the very orthodox...believe or live by this stuff...we take lessons from it....” What is that about? Having a precious Torah and not following it. What are the lessons to learn as we read in this parshah: 
29. And on the eighth day, she shall take for herself two turtle doves or two young doves, and bring them to the kohen, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.
30. And the kohen shall make one into a sin offering and one into a burnt offering, and the kohen shall effect atonement for her, before the Lord, from the uncleanness of her discharge. 
Is it that the woman has done something wrong by menstrating and thus needs to do a sin offering? Is it that we should be good people? If so, it seems this is not a good metaphor.

Let's say that it is really not a good message? Should the Torah be rewritten? Is it an useful book? Why? 

All questions for me to answer. I guess that the ridiculous nature of it all might be the brilliance. 

In Buddhism, we call this an “opportunity for practice.” Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Another wrote about Japanese Tea Ceremony. She wrote, “In Chado, purifying the utensils before and after making tea, etc. are occasions for us to be aware of our heart, checking if we have purity of heart, to make a bowl of tea with all our heart for our guest, without being concerned about showing off, having made a mistake the last momrent, or  making a mistake the next moment.  Like Shinto and many other religiouis practices, in Tea, rinsing mouth and hands at the tsukubai (garden basin) is symbolic of purifying speech and actions.”

When I woke this morning I remembered how my sisters used sanitary napkins (Kotex). Here's a few fables about Tampax and virginity. I remember that girls would get out of swimming class if they were having their period. Not the same as being ostracised from the community, but almost...having to sit and watch.

I can understand one wanting to purifying speech and actions. What I don't get is why purification is necessary after natural  functions occur in our bodies.

But then, we do wash our hands after going to the bathroom? What's the difference?


  1. Somewhere long ago, i learned these sex-related "purity laws" developed so that the Jewish people would multiply more rather than wasting semen or having sexual intercourse in a woman's infertile period. Likewise, others of the "purity laws" may have developed for health reasons, even tho the people weren't yet aware of it.

  2. If people weren't aware that there were benefits from any of these laws, I don't see how we can say that they developed for these reasons. Part of what we are learning in the Torah is that the laws keep you on your toes. We want to fall into habitual patterns. We want to always feed our desires "right now." The laws suggest mindfulness.


Thanks for commenting. One cannot study the Torah alone.