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Parashat Tazria / פרשת תזריע

Crop of The Presentation of Yeshua in the Temple by James Joseph Jacques Tissot


Parashat Tazria is the 27th weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the fourth reading of Vayikra (Leviticus). Tazria (תַזְרִיעַ) is the Hebrew word for she conceives, taken from the 13th word of this parashah, from the instructions HaShem gives to Moshe (Moses) to give to the people of Yisrael (Israel) regarding matters of ritual purity for a woman when she gives birth.

Instruction is given as to the length of time the woman who has just given birth remains in a state of tamei (ritual impurity). The length of time varies depending upon whether the baby is a male or female child, as do the days of purification which follow. The woman is not to touch anything that is holy until the days of purification have been completed. Neither is she to enter the Sanctuary of HaShem during those days. After the days of purification, the woman is instructed to bring specific offerings to the kohen (priest) at the entrance to Ohel Moed (the Tent of Meeting). The kohen then makes atonement for the woman and she returns to a state of tahore (ritual purity). A reminder is also given to circumcise the male child on the eighth day, as first instructed in Bereshit (Genesis) 17, in Parashat Lech-Lecha.

Following the above, in the 13th chapter of Vayikra (Leviticus), HaShem gives Moshe and Aharon (Aaron) detailed instruction regarding identifying tzara’at (commonly translated “leprosy”) in the skin of a person and in a garment or a skin, and the proper responses to be taken in each case. With the person, these instructions dictate when a person is to be quarantined, whether a person is to be pronounced tamei or tahore, and whether the person is to remain in the camp or is to live alone outside of the camp, with his hair hanging loose and in torn clothes. In the case of a diseased garment or a skin, HaShem’s instructions dictate whether the garment or skin is to be altogether burned in the fire or whether only the infected part of the garment is to be torn out and burned in the fire.

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Torah Portion: Leviticus 12:1 – 13:59

1st Aliyah: Leviticus 12:1-13:5 (13 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Leviticus 13:6-17 (12 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Leviticus 13:18-23 (6 verses)
4th Aliyah: Leviticus 13:24-28 (5 verses)
5th Aliyah: Leviticus 13:29-39 (11 verses)
6th Aliyah: Leviticus 13:40-54 (15 verses)
7th Aliyah: Leviticus 13:55-59 (5 verses)
Maftir: Leviticus 13:57-59 (3 verses)

Special Maftir
Shabbat HaChodesh: Exodus 12:1-20 (20 verses)
Shabbat HaChodesh (on Rosh Chodesh):
8th Aliyah: Numbers 28:9-15 (7 verses)
Maftir: Exodus 12:1-20 (20 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
II Kings 4:42 – 5:19

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

Shabbat HaChodesh: Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18
Shabbat HaChodesh (on Rosh Chodesh): Ezekiel 45:16 – 46:18

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