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Parsha [Passage of Scripture] Nugget [Precious Idea] Tazria – Leviticus 12:1-13:59
When times are tough, I mean really bad, I find myself praying for a miracle. “Please G-d, fix my problem now.” The funny thing is, the Almighty makes a miracle accessible at any time. Parshas Tazria explains:
“…whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring a sheep in its first year as a burnt offering…” (Vayikra/Leviticus 12:6)
This week’s parsha explains how a woman becomes tahor (spiritually purified) after giving birth. Then it details how a kohen (priest) verifies when a person has a tzaraas, baheres or s’eis affliction on his body or a tzaraas affliction on a garment.
Connecting Birth and a Korban
Among the korbonos (offerings) brought on the altar why does a woman bring a burnt offering? She survived childbirth and now has a daughter or son. She’s freed from discomfort after nine months of pregnancy. The thanksgiving offering seems most appropriate.
The thanksgiving offering is brought and consumed on the same day. It represents a single act of gratitude. By contrast, a burnt offering stays on the Altar until it is completely consumed. Smoke from it wafts off into eternity.
Burnt offerings were brought twice daily in the Temple. Known as a korban tamid (continual offering), it reminded people of the Almighty’s never ending bounty.
I return to my original conclusion. A thanksgiving offering is more appropriate. Let’s face it, a woman may be grateful for everything I mentioned above. But once breastfeeding, changing diapers, and sleep deprivation start her thankfulness disappears.
The burnt offering she brings must signify something greater than gratitude.
The True Miracle of Birth
Conceiving a child is no mystery. We know the science. It’s hard to make the case that conception is a miracle. Yet scientists remain unable to create life in the lab. Frankenstein notwithstanding, they’re not able to take inert molecules and make them come alive.
Herein lies the true miracle. Each time a child is born the Almighty creates another physical-spiritual hybrid. This enduring miracle makes a burnt offering, with its connection to the continual offering, the only one a woman can bring.
The human soul is unique from that of all other creatures. You can strive, learn, grow, and make moral distinctions based on free will. An animal learns based solely on its nature and experience. You can study and discover new ideas from others without having to suffer yourself. All these abilities are nothing short of miraculous.
If you don’t solve your challenges using your intellect, you can do something no animal can. The bond between your body and spirit gives you round-the-clock access to G-d. Pray. The Almighty will respond.
Any time of the day or night you can harness a miracle and put it to work for you. Alter your mindset for greater resourcefulness. Avoid pitfalls by learning from others or getting the guidance of a mentor. And if all else fails, fuse your soul with the Creator and draw strength from His love for you.
What miracle have you experienced in your life? Please comment below.
Every year beginning on Simchas Torah, the cycle of reading the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, ends and begins again. Each Sabbath a portion known as a sedra or parsha is read. It is named after the first significant word or two with which this weekly reading begins.
What verse in the Old Testament would you like to know more about? Ask a question and I will answer it in a future Parsha Nugget!