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Torah Teasers Parshat Tazria

Tazria (Leviticus 12-13 )

by Moshe Erlbaum

Challenging questions for the Shabbat table.

1. This parsha discusses the law of circumcision. a) Who is the first person in the Torah to receive a circumcision from his parent? b) Who is the first baby to have a circumcision when he was eight days old? c) Which other baby is circumcised elsewhere in the Torah?

a) In parshas Lech Lecha, Avraham circumcises his son, 13-year-old Yishmael (Genesis 17:23,25). b) In parshas Vayera, Yitzhak was the first baby to receive a circumcision at eight days old (Genesis 21:4). c) In parshas Shemos, Moshe's second son is circumcised by his mother, Tzipora (Exodus 4:25).

2. a) Where does the number 33 appear in this parsha? b) Where in the Torah and in the Prophets is the number 33 mentioned?

a) After giving birth to a boy, a mother is ritually impure for 33 days (Leviticus 12:4). b) In parshas Vayigash, when the Jewish people travel down to Egypt, Leah's descendants number 33 (Genesis 46:15). King David ruled for 33 years in Jerusalem (2-Samuel 5:5).

3.In which law is a female double that of a male?

The ritual impurity of childbirth lasts seven days for a male child and 14 days for a female child (Leviticus 12:2,5). In addition, the subsequent days of purity are 33 days for a baby boy and 66 days for a baby girl (Leviticus 12:4,5).

4. Which of the ten plagues appears in this parsha?

The Torah discusses the laws of someone whose skin has leprosy on boils (Leviticus 13:18). Boils is one of the ten plagues in parshas Va'erah (Exodus 9:9).

5. Which 5 colors are mentioned in this parsha?

The following colors appear, all relating to the laws of leprosy: white (Leviticus 13:3), red (13:24), yellowish gold (13:36), black (Leviticus 13:37), and greenish yellow (13:49).

6. In what two contexts is fire mentioned in this parsha?

(a) The Torah discusses someone who has leprosy on a burn that has healed. The word for burn is michvas aish - "a fire burn" (Leviticus 13:24). (b) Clothing that has incurable leprosy must be burned by fire (Leviticus 13:52,57).

7. Which two topics in this parsha involve the number seven?

(1) A woman who gives birth to a boy is ritually impure for seven days (Leviticus 12:2). (2) Someone with leprosy, and clothing with leprosy, are quarantined in seven-day periods (Leviticus 13:4,20,21,26,31,33,50,54).

8. In this parsha, in what two contexts must clothing be torn?

The Torah states that a person with leprosy, "his clothing be torn" (Leviticus 13:44). If a garment has leprosy it must be washed and put away for seven days. If after this period the leprosy stain has dimmed, one must tear away the section containing the leprosy stain, and the rest of the garment may possibly be salvaged (Leviticus 13:56).

9. What two other places in the book of Levitcus is there a commandment not to tear clothing?

In parshas Shmini, after the death of Nadav of Avihu, Aharon and his remaining sons are prohibited from tearing their clothing as a sign of mourning (Leviticus 10:6). In parshas Emor, a High Priest is prohibited from tearing his clothing (Leviticus 21:10).

10. In this parsha, what word must a leper call out twice? What other law (in the book of Numbers) requires someone to call out a word twice?

A leper must call out the words, "Tamai Tamai" (impure impure) (Leviticus 13:45). In parshas Naso, a woman accused of adultery (sotah) must answer the Kohen's oath with the words, "Amen Amen" (Numbers 5:22).

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