Parshat Vayikra Tazria
Leviticus 12.1 - 13.59
How Words Can Make Us Unclean
Dear Reader, This Parshat has a follow up discussion in Parshat Metzora. Please click on red to study both. Up until this point in Scripture we have learned that We, The People of Israel may become contaminated through physical conditions, secretions, or through contact with contaminated objects. We will continue our discussion. We learn that Child Birth causes contamination. In our Parshat Tazria, Three Mitzvot are related to the mother that brings forth a child. The four remaining Mitzvot deal with tzaraat, i.e. sins caused from speaking and spreading slander among The People of Israel.
In Parshat Tazria there are Five Performative Mitzvot and Two Prohibitive Mitzvot. These Seven Mitzvot apply ONLY to The People of Israel. It is important to make this distinction!! Our Parshat begins by making this distinction, ‘And The Lord spoke to Moses, Saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel.’Parshat Vayikra begins by making this distinction, ‘Speak to the people of Israel.’Parshat Shemini begins by making this distinction, 'And to the people of Israel you shall speak, saying,'Dear Reader, The sins we are about to enter into a discussion on compel me to point out distinctions that HaShem has Made between The People of Israel from that of the people in the rest of the world. This distinction is like an envelope HaShem Has addressed just to The People of Israel. About 85% of the 613 Mitzvot in Ha Torah are only addressed to just to The People of Israel. The Mitzvot separate The People of Israel from the rest of the world. When we, The People of Israel carefully Observe The Mitzvot HaShem Has Given us The Observances of The Mitzvot separate us from the other peoples in the world. Observing The Mitzvot makes us The Holy People HaShem Desires us to be. When The People of Israel fail to Observe The Mitzvot it is a sin we commit. These are sins ONLY The People of Israel can fail to Observe unless people of the world make a vow to Observe a particular Mitzvot.
One Mitzvot people in the world find popular are The Mitzvot of Sabbath Observances. People of the world unknowingly make vows to HaShem by simply repeating an action three times. For example when an individual lights the Sabbath Candles three times they have made a vow through their actions to ALWAYS light The Sabbath Candles. From the third time on, they have entered into a vow with The Creator of the universe to Light The Sabbath Light. When an individual does not work specifically on The Seventh Day with the intention of Honoring The Seventh Day from the third time on they have entered into a vow with The Creator of the universe to Honor The Seventh Day by not working on it. People commit to Observances good and evil without realizing it.
My point is there are certain Observances that are ONLY sins to The People of Israel and to those who have taken on The Observances. One of our Learning Groups at B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC is The 613 Mitzvot of Ha Torah. When I discuss a Mitzvah regardless of the subject I normally share the discussion in this group. This discussion will be shared in The Learning Group 613 Mitzvot of Ha Torah.
My concern here is that we are aware that most of the people of the world are not taught or held to the higher standard of Observances as The People of Israel. Many of the people of the world think slander is wrong. Many think it is better to not slander. Many think they should not gossip or spread slander. Yet, in many instances they slander and spread slander without sinning. It is normally not a sin for them. It is at this point where our discussion becomes greatly involved.
We are going to take a side street discussion for several pages to establish an important point about why there is a state of confusion among many of the people of the world. The Holy Scriptures were written to and for The People of Israel with the exception of Genesis. When other religions teach The Holy Scriptures to their followers / students they may entangle their followers / students in Mitzvot not intended for them to Observe. Let me offer a few examples. Lets take the Christian New Testament for example. Christians call Paul an Apostle. Paul is credited with writing 13 Books of The Christian New Testament, i.e. Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon. Some think Paul may have also written Acts of The Apostles and Hebrews. All of these were letters supposedly written by Paul that the early church fathers, i.e. Catholic / Christian Fathers combined into what they now call The New Testament. Paul claimed to be Jewish. He claimed to be a student of Rabbi Gamliel. He is accredited with writing most of the Christian New Testament. Paul was rebellious to many of The 613 Mitzvot HaShem Gave The People of Israel. Almost all of Paul's instructions were to the people of the world. Paul for the most part was not speaking to The People of Israel. Many of the problems between The People of Israel and Christians result from Paul, a rebellious Jew. Most of Paul's letters were written before Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. John wrote The Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelations. The writer of Mark says, John was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman. The writer of The Acts of The Apostles says Peter and John were unlearned and ignorant man. The writer gives the impression that Rabbi Jesus was educated. The Christian New Testament gives the impression that John and Peter were Jewish. Peter is accredited with writing 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Peter was the first Catholic Pope. This is based upon the statement by Rabbi Jesus, 'You are Peter, and upon this rock [Peter] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' Luke and The Acts of the Apostles are thought to be written by a doctor named Luke. If this is accurate, Luke is the only non-Jewish author in the Christian New Testament. No one knows for certain who Matthew is. He is thought to be a disciple of Rabbi Jesus. The author of Mark is unknown. This leaves James and Jude. Many Christians believe James and Jude were the brothers of Rabbi Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, One Peter, Two Peter, James and Jude were all written to the People of Israel. Like Paul, many of their teachings rebelled against The 613 Mitzvot HaShem Gave The People of Israel on Mount Sinai.
Here is the point I am making, the attitude throughout the Christian New Testament teaches The People of Israel to disrespect, disobey and to rebel against what The Perfect Torah of HaShem Commands. Eight books are directed only toward Jews. Nineteen books are directed towards non-Jews. There are between six to nine writers. The writers were rebels and outcasts. The four historical scribes, ie. Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts of The Apostles did a horrible job. Let me offer a few examples. The Genealogy in Matthew is not Rabbi Jesus Genealogy. The Genealogy is that of Joseph his alleged step father. It is of no value since it proves nothing. In addition there are names omitted from the Genealogy. A good careful scribe would have gone to The Temple and copied the Genealogies from Chronicles. The genealogies in Chronicles were hundreds of years old. They were accepted and established as truth. Matthew makes a number of unfounded claims. He does not reveal the sources of his information. The information presented by Matthew, Mark and Luke about the Passover meal conflicts with what John wrote. Yet, John was there. We do not know where Matthew, Mark or Luke obtained their information. Matthew writes, 'When the morning was come, all the Chief Priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death.' These are very strong accusations. How can anyone make such brash assertions without offering some evidence? There are no records to validate this claim.
Matthew claims that the elders paid large sums of money to buy off the guards. He says the guards were paid to say Jesus disciples stole his body. Do readers realize what would happen to Roman Guards who openly acknowledged they fell asleep on their watch?
There is so much more to consider than what I have shared. All of this points to enormous confusion!! The facts are the Christian New Testament is not reliable nor Divinely Inspired! It easy to see why Christians are confused given the above information. Who are they to believe?
Now we return back to the main street of what I am sharing. There are a number of reasons why we needed to take the side street. It was to Show conflicts between The Perfect Torah of HaShem and The Christian New Testament writers. It was to show the anger, disrespect, rebellion and rejection of The Perfect Torah of HaShem by writers of The Christian New Testament. Being aware of the under currents helps us to understand the frustration and confusion Christians have been indoctrinated with. Who can Christians trust? I have received so many letters over the years from Christians who feel so angry and disconnected because of this under current that runs through the Christian New Testament. They turn to Judaism for a sense of stability and security. I explain to them that everyone who is not Jewish, i.e. everyone who is not from among The People of Israel are Noachides. That The Creator has a plan and a path of observance for them to follow. They don't have to be Jewish to be stable and secure in their beliefs. I go into detail in my book, God's Plan From The Beginning.
The Christian New Testament has many gaps. For example nothing definitive is written about Mary's parents other than perhaps her Father's name. We know who Mose's mother and father were. We know who Samuel's mother and father were. We know who Isaac's and Jacob's mother and father were. Yet, nothing is written about Rabbi Jesus parents or grandparents. Do we agree, this seems a little odd? Christians claim Rabbi Jesus is supposed to be the Messiah of the world. How do we know Mary was Jewish? How do we know Joseph was Jewish? We don't! Remember being Jewish requires one's mother to be Jewish. Inheriting land in Israel is passed from father to son. Land cannot be passed from step father to step son. Being King of Israel requires ascending their father's throne. One cannot ascend the throne based on being a step son.
What about marriage? What does the world know about Jewish marriage two-thousand years ago? Was it possible for Joseph and Mary to be husband and wife without having a sexual relationship? Yes! How is that possible?
Dear Reader, the point I am making is that there are many Mitzvot among The People of Israel that the people of the world know little or nothing about because these Mitzvot are not given to them. Non Jews are not responsible for these Observances. How are they to know Truth from a fairytale? In my book The Jesus Probe I show Christians that based on the teachings of James, Rabbi Jesus sinned. Most Christians are offended by the thought of Rabbi Jesus sinning. Still, based upon what Matthew wrote, Jesus sinned a number of times.
This weeks discussion about slander and spreading slander is at the foundation of sin. I do not expect Christians to be aware of sins The People of Israel are held accountable for. However, four Mitzvot of Ha Torah discuss the penalty of the sin of slander and spreading slander.
Normally our sins are covered. Normally our sins are not on open display. Normally our sins are handled in a discreet manner. We don’t embarrass the sinner. Normally our sins are between God our Creator and us. However, It is different for the sins of speaking and spreading slander among The People of Israel. Why? One has not been circumspect in their speech or their actions towards The Holy People.
What we are discussing in Leviticus 13 are behavioral issues. We are discussing how one Jew conducts or behaves towards another Jew. Consider Numbers 11 - 13. The ten spies spoke evil about The Holy Land. The slander of the ten spies caused The People of Israel to sin. In addition to slandering The Holy Land the ten spies spread slander about The Holy Land. The People of Israel sinned. They were not permitted to enter The Holy Land. They wandered in the Wilderness for forty years until all the men who slandered and spread slander died in the wilderness.
Some teach tzaraat is leprosy. They teach leprosy is contagious and easily spread. They teach that people with leprosy must be quarantined. Lepers must be prevented from coming into contact with other people to prevent the spread of the disease. I am not arguing with this. Yet, our Sages point to how tzaraat is dealt with. Our sages Teach that if tzaraat appears on an individual who is newlywed or on an individual during a festival celebration like The Festival of Passover or the Festival of Tabernacles etc. the Priest does not examine the affliction. Why? It is NOT a leprosy that is physically contagious. The tzaraat is a spiritual affliction caused by speaking and spreading slander among The People of Israel.
As noted before, most non Jews will not understand these observances. non Jews are not required to learn them or to observe them. HaShem Gave Observances to The People of Israel that are on a higher level of Spirituality. These Spiritual Observances are intended ONLY for The People Israel. It is very important to make this distinction!!
They are ONLY SINS for The People of Israel!!
Most of the world does not understand The Observances on this pristine level of Spirituality. It is too high to comprehend! It is foolishness to them.
Higher levels of Spirituality are only required for The People of Israel. The people of the world do not understand this level of Spirituality!! Why? ONLY These Observances separate The People of Israel from the world. These Observances are supposed to make The People of Israel difference from the rest of the world.
In Parshat Kedoshim we read the reason for these required sacrifices discussed here in Parshat Tzaria. Ha Torah Instructs, 'You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people.' This is what Ha Torah Says. The prohibition of going about as a slander is a Mitzvot of Ha Torah. When any Jew slanders another Jew it is a sin whether or not he / she becomes leprous or not. For a Jew to slander another Jew is a sin!! In my book The Jesus Probe I quote from the writings of James because Christians have this mistaken idea of The Perfect Torah of HaShem being done away. James wrote, 'If any man among you seem to be religious, and does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his own heart, this man's religion is vain...For in many things we offend everyone. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man. He is able to bridle his entire body.' What James wrote seems pretty clear to me. James taught it was wrong to slander. James taught that any individual who does not slander is a perfect man. Now, if I were a Christian or a Christian Messianic I would expect Rabbi Jesus to not come near even the remote possibility of slandering or spreading slander. So I ask Christians to explain what they think is happening in Matthew 23.
Now Christians may not consider this slander. There is no problem. To them this is not slander. However, Rabbi Jesus is a Jew and The Torah Scribes are Jews and The Pharisees are Jews and The People who Rabbi Jesus was making these defaming remarks to were Jews and if Matthew is correct in his allegation that Rabbi Jesus made these unfortunate remarks it is slander and it is spreading slander even if every word of what Rabbi Jesus said was true. How many times were slanderous words spoken? How many times were slanderous words spread?
Dear Ones, this is the reason why we took the side street for a few pages. What I have just shared is often upsetting to Christians. Still, it does not change what is written!!
Did James define sin as, 'To him that knows he / she should do good, and does not do good, to him / her it is sin.' Did Rabbi Jesus speak slander about The Torah Scribes and The Pharisees? Was that good? Was it good to publicly condeem the Scribes and Pharisees, 'Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites? Was it good to lash out at Jewish leaders? Was it good to call the Scribes and Pharisees 'blind guides'? Was it good to call them 'fools'? Matthew gives the impression that Rabbi Jesus was pretty angry. What do you think? Was Rabbi Jesus angry? Did Paul write, 'You maybe Angry, but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath.' The point is pretty clear. Rabbi Jesus was NOT PERFECT. He was a sinful man!!
In Parshat Tzaria the individual who is stricken with tzaaret is exposed for his / her sin. The tzaaret is seen. The sinner / violator must tear his / her garment. This is a reminder to mourn for his / her sins of slandering and spreading slander. The individual who slandered and spread slander must be isolated. They cannot live among The People of Israel or enter the Tabernacle area. When anyone approached them they must cry out with a warning UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!
Ha Torah is making a point! One who slanders and spreads slander must be isolated. The Righteous Miriam was isolated outside the camp of Israel for a week. When we consider the Word Taw May notice we The Three Letters are twisted יִטְמָא טָמֵא. The Gematria for Taw May is fifty. We teach that when The People of Israel were in Mitzraim / Egypt that they sunk to the 49th level of uncleanness due to the slavery, sinfulness of the people, idols etc. if they had sunk to the fiftieth level of uncleanness they would have not been redeemed. The People of Israel rose from the 49th level of uncleanness to the fiftieth level of holiness after being delivered from Mitzraim by the mighty hand of HaShem. The discussion of fifty is deep. For example the Festival of Weeks is Fifty Days. Shavuot is the Fiftieth day. The Year of Jubilee is The Fiftieth Year. Our Sages Speak of The Fifty Gates of Understanding which are in relationship to the fifty times Ha Torah mentions that HaShem brought us up out of slavery. It is through deliverance at Passover that the one who has slander and who has spread slander can journey from sin to freedom. The Prophet wrote, 'Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps The Truth may enter in. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you; because he trusts in You. Trust you in The Lord forever; for The Lord God is an Eternal Rock.'The purpose of causing the slander to be identified is to bring about redemption. When the slander cries out cry out UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN! it is to bring about redemption. David wrote, 'O give thanks to The Lord, for He is good; for His loving kindness endures for ever. Let the גְּאוּלֵי [Gih Oo Lay] redeemed of The Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them from the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a desert way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried to The Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distresses.'Dear Reader, Rabbi Jesus does not have the power to save anyone. Rabbi Jesus is not the Jewish Moshiach / Messiah, the son of God. Rabbi Jesus is not god.
Some may be thinking, I have believed in Rabbi Jesus to save my soul since childhood. What am I going to do? Dear One, God has not forsaken you. No where in The Holy Scriptures / Ha Tenach does it say we need a savior for our souls. All that God requires is when we make mistakes to to repent of our mistakes, in other words acknowledge our mistakes to God. reverse directions, i.e. go in a different way, try not to make the same mistake again, offer to make restitution for our mistake and return to the path of right living. God gave us eternal life from the very beginning. Everyone's name was scribed in Sefer Chaim / The Book of life from the very beginning. God Gave the people of the world Observances to follow. It is not difficult. God Has a direct relationship with us just like He had with Adam, Eve, Cain, and Abel. It's not complicated.
In the days of Jonah the sinful people of Nineveh repented. They Improved! They were spared from destruction. Over one-thousand years before Noah's flood God warned the people. Then one-hundred-twenty before the flood God Instructed Noah and Methushelach to preach repentance. The five years before the flood when construction on the ark began Noah preached repentance. The sinful people were warned and warned up until The Creator shut the door on the ark.
The Prophet Michah wrote, 'He has told you, O man, what is good? And what does The Lord require of you? [He Requires] you to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.'The Prophet Ezkeil Wrote, ' Say to them, As I live, says The Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked should turn from his way and live; turn, turn from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?'What did The Creator Say to Cain? 'And The Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? and why is your countenance fallen? If you IMPROVE, shall you not be accepted? and if you do not [improve], sin lies at the door. And to you shall [fall to] his desire, and yet you [have the strength] to rule over him.' Each of the above Scriptures point to improving and turning to the Path of Right Living. It's that easy. You don't have to go to church! You don't have to pray for hours. You don't have to beg for forgivness. Forgiveness is granted before any of us ask.
Taw May / Unclean
ט9 מ40 א1 = 50
Gih Oo Lay / redeemed
ג3 א1 ו6 ל30 י10 = 50
We need to try our best not to follow the pattern of sin by calling others names. Adam did not call others names. Noach did not call others names. Abraham did not call other names. Isaac did not call others names. Jacob did not call others names.
David Wrote, 'Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile.''Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.'May HaShem Bless all who study and learn HaTorah and Observe The Mitzvot.
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk
Dean of Jewish Studies
B'nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC
Author of many books
Dr. Akiva Gamliel and Rebbetzin Revi - Brachah Rivkah Belk
Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk
Dean of Jewish Studies
B’nai Noach Torah Institute, LLC
Author of Many Books
View Books and Information by Dr. Akiva Gamliel Belk