Tag Archives: Impurity

Bodies are sources of holiness too

Torah-Inspired, Days of Awe Reflection of The Day…

Today we look at M’tzorah, Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33 – ritual impurities around mysterious skin conditions (not leprosy, BTW), and ritual impurities around sexual relationships.

What’s the deal with the impurities? What kind of superstitious mumbo-jumbo is this?

Let us depart from the judgmental attitude towards cleanliness in English. All of the impurities mentioned in this section, and the procedures around them, could happen to anyone, and do happen to almost everyone – they are normal results of human existence. Impurity is not a critique, but a rhythm to life, living, and the appreciation of our physicality.

How we cycle in and out of different moments in life is worth noting. When we come into contact with the sources of creation via intimacy we ought to take note in some way. Recognizing the sacredness in such acts by washing before and afterward and treating our actions as full of impact seems like a good corrective in a society where all too often sex and sexuality get easily demeaned by disrespectful access and treatment.

We find great meaning in the connection between our bodies and relationships. At this reflective time of year, let us aim for better and more respectful physicality.

Help each other leave judgment behind

Torah-Inspired, Days of Awe Reflection of The Day…

Today we look at Tazree-ah, Leviticus 12:1 – 13:59 – skin eruptions, ritual impurity, and how the ancient priest diagnosed these things.

We should remember that the Torah does not serve as a medical manual, even for its ancient time. Rather, we recognize that the Torah offers us advice for society, not for biology.

The social advice here comes from creating standards of inclusion and exclusion. People in difficulty, especially visible difficulty, often face rejection from society. When we establish rules that allow us to classify these difficulties by an authority figure, we can actually remove the stigma because we normalize the issue.

Let us learn at this time of reflection to go beyond our initial reactions to people with struggles. The strength of any social group can be measured by how well we aid those in need of help. Everyone gets sick, everyone faces hardship – let us not allow others’ difficulties to color our reactions to them. Let us reach out to each other in our times of need.