Torah Teasers Parshas Metzora

April 7, 2013

3 min read


Metzora (Leviticus 14-15 )

1. What two people in the Torah are inflicted with tzara'at (skin disease)?

In parshas Shemos, at the Burning Bush, Moshe's hand is temporarily inflicted with tzara'at (Exodus 4:6). In parshas Beha'alosecha, Miriam is inflicted with tzara'at for speaking improperly (lashon hara) against her brother Moshe (Numbers 12:10).

2. Which three objects involved in the purification of tzara'at are also used in the purification process of someone ritually impure through contact with the dead (tameh meis) as described in Numbers 19:6?

The purification of tzara'at involves the use of (1) cedar wood, (2) crimson colored wool, and (3) hyssop (Leviticus 14:4). In parshas Chukas, the purification process of someone ritually impure through contact with the dead, requires these ingredients, in addition to the ashes of the red heifer (Numbers 19:6).

3. In this parsha, what inorganic object is described as being alive? What else is described as being alive?

a) The water used for the purification of the leper must be mayim chaim - "living waters" from a natural spring (Leviticus 14:5). b) as an offering, the leper must take what is described as "living birds" (14:4).

4. What action, usually forbidden, is part of the purification process of tzara'at?

Normally, a person is forbidden to shave the hair off his entire body, which could involve the prohibition of cutting off the corners of the head and the corners of the beard (Leviticus 19:27). [It may also involve the prohibition for a man to adopt the practices of a woman, such as shaving parts of the body (Deut. 22:5 with Rashi).] Despite this, the purification of tzara'at involves shaving off all the hair on his body (Leviticus 14:8-9).

5. What body part appears in this parsha, and nowhere else in the Torah?

As part of tzara'at purification, one must shave off all his hair including his eyebrows (Leviticus 14:9). Eyebrows are not mentioned anywhere else in the Torah.

6. a) What three letters comprise a verb and a color that are both mentioned in this parsha? b) What other two places in the Torah is that verb mentioned?

a) The Torah discusses the consequences if a person with the ritual impurity of a zav were to spit on someone (Leviticus 15:8). The word for spit is "yarok," also the word for the color green. This color appears as a color of tzara'at that may appear on the walls of a house (Leviticus 14:37). b) Two other places in the Torah mentions spitting: In parshas Beha'alosecha, Miriam is punished with tzara'at for seven days - because if a father were to spit in front of his daughter she would be ashamed for seven days; so too Miriam should be isolated for seven days (Numbers 12:14). In parshas Ki Teitzei, the procedure of chalitza requires the widowed sister-in-law to spit in front of the brother of her deceased husband (Deut. 25:9).

7. What country is mentioned in this parsha?

The land of Canaan appears in this parsha. Leprosy can only appear on the houses in the land of Canaan (Leviticus 14:34).
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