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Tazria

Tazria-Metzora 5778: The Power of Words

April 25, 2018
burnt sacrifice

This week’s Torah portion, Tazria-Metzora, opens with a discussion of the ritual impurity connected with child-bearing. After giving birth a woman is in a state of ritual impurity similar to what happens when she has her period. The Torah tells us, On the completion of her period of purification, for either son or daughter,...
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Tazria-Metzora 5777 – Never Again? Or Again and Again?

April 30, 2017
Aleppo, Syria

“Never again!” “Never again!” Earlier this week I heard our own Riva Hirsch share her moving story in a Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration at the offices of the Social Security Administration here in Birmingham. A large auditorium was filled with over 300 people, including a lot of schoolchildren: Thursday was a good day for...
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Tazria 5774 – Picking and Choosing

March 28, 2014
Tazria 5774 – Picking and Choosing

And the leper in whom the disease is, his clothes shall be torn, and his head bare, and he shall put a cover upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. …Leviticus 13:45 I hope my Christian friends won’t be offended by my asking this, but I really don’t understand the Christian relationship...
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Tazria 5771 — Rabbis for Human Rights

April 1, 2011

This is a d’var Torah I gave at Rabbis for Human Rights annual meeting yesterday. At the beginning of this week’s Torah portion we have a simple commandment: וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי יִמּוֹל בְּשַֹר עָרְלָתו “On the eighth day you shall circumcise his flesh.” The commandment to circumcise our sons is more than an aesthetic preference....
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Outside the camp

April 17, 2010
Outside the camp

"Cherem," excommunication, is apparently still alive and well in the Jewish world. In last week's Torah reading, Tazria-Metzora, a selection from Leviticus dealing with skin diseases and bodily fluids, we were told that certain people, innocent of any crime other than having a skin condition, were forced to live in isolation, "outside the camp."...
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Tazria 5767 — Virginia Tech

March 26, 2007

Why? Why should 32 students and teachers at Virginia Tech have had their lives cut so tragically short? Austin Cloyd was one of Cho Seung-Hui’s youngest victims. The 18-year-old freshman loved to act, to sing, play volleyball, read, go shopping. She was always dressed just so. A friend remembers a trip to Old Navy...
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