Parashat Metzora / פרשת מצרע

Crop of The Healing of Ten Lepers by James Joseph Jacques Tissot


Parashat Metzora is the 28th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the fifth reading of Vayikra (Leviticus). Metzora (מְּצֹרָע) is the Hebrew word for one afflicted with tzara’at, taken from the 9th word of this parashah, from the instructions HaShem gives to Moshe (Moses) regarding the cleansing of the metzora.The metzora is to be brought to the kohen (priest) outside of the camp and the kohen is to look to see if the tzara’at has been healed in the metzora. If the metzora has been healed, a series of steps are to be followed by the metzora and the kohen in order for the metzora to be pronounced tahore (ritually pure), including certain items and offerings, sprinklings, washings, and even shavings. Through the prescribed steps, the person is able to transition from dwelling outside of the camp in a state of tamei (ritual impurity), to dwelling in the camp, and then to even coming into the Sanctuary of HaShem, to the entrance to Ohel Moed (the Tent of Meeting) to make the prescribed offerings. Provision is made for those who are unable to afford the prescribed offerings. They are permitted to bring offerings of lesser monetary value, as prescribed.

HaShem further speaks to Moshe and Aharon (Aaron) about what must be done when HaShem puts a case of tzara’at in a house in the land of Kena’an, which the people of Yisrael will possess. One who suspects tzara’at is to inform the kohen (priest), who will in turn examine the area of the house in question, the house first having been emptied of the resident’s belongings. The instruction dictates whether or not the house is to be quarantined and for how long, and ultimately whether only the infected stones are to be removed from the house and the house scraped and re-plastered, or if the house must be torn down altogether. If the house can be pronounced tahore (“clean”), certain offerings must be made using certain items in a certain way, and the kohen shall make atonement for the house and it will be tahore.

The parashah concludes with HaShem’s detailed instructions to Moshe and Aharon regarding the cleansing of man and woman from the ritual impurity caused from their bodily discharges, so that they do not defile HaShem’s Tabernacle in their uncleaness.

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Torah Portion: Leviticus 14:1 – 15:33

1st Aliyah: Leviticus 14:1-12 (12 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Leviticus 14:13-20 (8 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Leviticus 14:21-32 (12 verses)
4th Aliyah: Leviticus 14:33-53 (21 verses)
5th Aliyah: Leviticus 14:54-15:15 (19 verses)
6th Aliyah: Leviticus 15:16-28 (13 verses)
7th Aliyah: Leviticus 15:29-33 (5 verses)
Maftir: Leviticus 15:31-33 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
II Kings 7:3 – 7:20

When Parashat Metzora coincides with a special Shabbat,
a different Haftarah is traditionally read:

Shabbat HaGadol: Malachi 3:4-24 (Hb.)

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