Torah Portion

Metzora

מצרע

Leviticus 14:1-15:33
Second Kings 7:3–20
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Tum’ah: Ritual Impurity or Fear of Contagious Disease?

Tum’ah: Ritual Impurity or Fear of Contagious Disease?

Already in the early 2nd millennium B.C.E., people knew that diseases were contagious, and fear of contagion plays a key role in the Torah’s laws regarding the skin ailment, tzaraʿat. What does this mean for understanding other kinds of tum’ah?

Dr.
Yitzhaq Feder
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Menstruant as Zavah: How the Laws of Niddah Developed

Menstruant as Zavah: How the Laws of Niddah Developed

Leviticus 15 describes two types of impure bleeding for women: menstruation (niddah), and bleeding that is “not during her menstrual period (zavah).” The Rabbis attempt to define the difference in an abstract manner, and in so doing, elide the two.

Prof.
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
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Sex During Menstruation: From Impurity to Prohibition

Sex During Menstruation: From Impurity to Prohibition

According to Leviticus 15:24, sex with a menstruating woman results in temporary impurity but seems to be allowed. According to Leviticus 18:19 and 20:18, on the other hand, it is strictly prohibited. What accounts for these two different approaches?

Dr.
Eve Levavi Feinstein
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Niddah (Menstruation): From Torah to Rabbinic Law

Niddah (Menstruation): From Torah to Rabbinic Law

In Leviticus 15, the laws of niddah are about purity; Lev 18 and 20, however, prohibit sex during menstruation. The rabbis, who inherited both of these texts, create a new, hybrid concept: the prohibition of sex while a woman has the status of menstrual impurity.

Prof.
Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert
TheGemara.com
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Can Elijah Reconcile Fathers and Sons ?

Can Elijah Reconcile Fathers and Sons ?

Jewish tradition seems to have difficulty with the relationship between fathers and sons. Hence the last verses of Malachi, a coda to the Nevi’im section of Tanakh, imagines ultimate redemption through a metaphor of father-son reconciliation, with the fire and brimstone prophet Elijah its unlikely, antagonistic harbinger. Leave it to the poet Yehuda Amichai to step in and offer a counter-model to rescue the metaphor.

Prof.
Wendy Zierler
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On the Origins of Tevilah (Ritual Immersion)

On the Origins of Tevilah (Ritual Immersion)

When and why washing became immersion: between traditional-rabbinic and scientific-critical approaches to the origin of immersion and the mikveh.[1]

Dr.
Yonatan Adler
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Metzora

מצרע

Leviticus 14:1-15:33

וְלָקַח לְחַטֵּא אֶת הַבַּיִת שְׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים וְעֵץ אֶרֶז וּשְׁנִי תוֹלַעַת וְאֵזֹב׃

ויקרא יד:מט

To purge the house, he shall take two birds, cedar wood, crimson stuff, and hyssop.

Lev 14:49

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Leviticus

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