Pure Connection – Parshat Tazria 5784

Parshat Tazria is known for its discussion of childbirth and related rituals. There’s talk of bodily fluids, circumcision, and prescribed “purification.” And like many Torah portions, there’s an inherent contrast in the text we read this week. If the time following childbirth requires a certain period of purification, that implies that giving birth is an impure act in some way. Yet could there be a more God-like experience than childbirth? Many mothers point to that moment as a time when they felt God’s presence. However, as usual, I think there’s a deeper meaning to what the Torah offers.

One of the central themes of Parshat Tazria is the importance of awareness of our words and actions. In the context of the laws we receive about “impurity,” this means being mindful of the ways in which we can unintentionally cause harm to others. For example, if someone were to spread rumors or gossip about a person with a skin disease, they would be contributing to that person’s isolation and stigmatization. Similarly, if we fail to support and care for women after they give birth, we risk contributing to their feelings of vulnerability.

But the lesson of Parshat Tazria goes beyond just awareness. It also calls on us to actively seek out opportunities to bring healing and connection into the world. This is reflected in the detailed rituals of purification that are described in the Torah portion. These rituals require not only the participation of the person who is “impure,” but also the active involvement of others in the community. For example, in the case of someone who has given birth, it is the community’s responsibility to provide support and care to help them regain their strength and return to a state of purity.

This message is particularly relevant today. Though most of what we consider normal activity has resumed following the pandemic, we continue to grapple with the effects of the isolation we experienced. We’re finding that we have to rededicate and recommit ourselves to the values of community and what it looks like to care for one another, whether it’s through acts of everyday kindness or simply taking the time to listen and connect with others.

As we reflect on the lessons of Parshat Tazria, let us remember that our words and actions have the power to either cause harm or bring healing into the world. May we strive to be agents of healing, and may we continue to work towards building a world that is characterized by kindness, compassion, and connection. Shabbat shalom.

– Rabbi Eve Posen

Source: Pure Connection – Parshat Tazria 5784