Marriage & Childbirth

Leviticus 12:1 - 13:28  

From Commentary Y2-33


The Holiness of Sex – Part 1

Tazria / Conceives 


Holiness is the major Biblical heading of our readings today, and the original Hebrew heading of today’s chapter was not “Leviticus 12” but “Tazria”  - “When a Woman Conceives.” The subject is the holiness of sex.


 “Yahweh God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). Man is part earthly, and part heavenly. It is said that in three ways man is like the angels, and in three ways like beasts. The three ways we are like beasts are in eating, in reproducing, and in relieving ourselves. In these three ways, we are to elevate ourselves above the animals – we are to be holy.


Last week we looked at how we are to be holy in the way we eat. We are to eat what God has created for food. God has given us for food animals that split the hoof and chew the cud, sea creatures that have fins and scales, birds as enumerated in Torah, and insects that jump with their hind legs (Leviticus 9-11). We are instructed to bless Yahweh before we eat – to bless Him as the creator of the food. We are instructed to Bless Yahweh after we eat for the prosperous land in which He has placed us (Deuteronomy 8:10). We cannot legitimately bless Yahweh for things that He has not given us. These instructions set us apart from the animals, and help us learn to be holy.


Today we consider how Yahweh made the marital sexual relationship holy, and how we are to act in ways that elevate us above the animals. As the Apostle Paul affirmed (1 Thessalonians 5:18), we should give thanks in all things – that is, we should bless Yahweh for all things He gives us, as we use those things. There is a blessing for the marital relationship, but we cannot legitimately bless Yahweh for sexual behavior that He forbids.


Firstly, let us review some background from our past Torah studies.


When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God covered them with skin. The Bible says nothing about animal skin (except in very liberal translations). An ancient Hebrew understanding is that they were covered with human skin – foreskin and hymen. Henceforth, they would bear children that would inherit Adams nature of sin. The children would be (tazria) conceived in a state of (chet) sin, and born with a nature of (avon) iniquity – they would not have to be trained to sin, but would rather need training to be holy. David said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). David’s father and mother did not sin in having a sexual relationship, and the conception was holy – but there was (tumah) spiritual impurity. “The creation of human life is the most sublime phenomenon in the universe. By bringing it into being, man and woman become partners with God, Who gives soul to their offspring. But this new life begins with tumah, spiritual impurity” (Chumash: Tazria).


A boy is to be circumcised on the eighth day after he is born (Genesis 17:10-12). This is seen as representing going back to the state before the fall of Adam – before the covering of skin. The blood of the circumcision is called a token of the covenant – the covenant of his father to bear a child for the Kingdom of God. This portrays the eighth millennial day, when the child may be completely holy eternally, the design of creation. This eighth-day circumcision relates to the time following the seven days when a mother undergoes ritual purification, in today’s chapter Tazria (verses 2-3).


When a woman marries, and the marriage is first consummated, the hymeneal blood is called a token of her virginity – for the covenant with her husband to bear children for the Kingdom of God, holy offspring. The breaking of the hymen is seen as representative of going back to the state before the fall into sin. This token of the hymeneal blood was saved as the token that she had kept herself a virgin to bear children in holiness for the Kingdom of God (Deuteronomy 22:15). Today’s chapter Tazria speaks of this token hymeneal blood as maqor dam (verse 7). [Exceptional circumstances are not being addressed here for brevity sake.]


We should note here what the Apostle Paul said: “Such (fornicators, adulterers) were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).


After Yeshua was born, He was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21). After forty days (per today’s chapter Tazria), Mary brought offerings to the Holy Temple – two doves (Luke 2:22-24). These were the offerings brought by the poorest people (Leviticus 12:8). But why did she need to bring anything? There are two reasons. Literally, she was fulfilling the Torah. Spiritually, this was the ultimate situation for the picture in these offerings: she was really without tumah / spiritual impurity from this conception – there was no human father from whom a sin nature could be imparted.


We have seen Biblically that human conception is holy, a partnership with God Who imparts the soul. Now let’s consider some more previous Scripture for background.


Elohim, our God Who judges His creation, gave us His laws of moral behavior. God also requires that man establish governments with justice systems and courts to adjudicate problems and mete out fair punishments for lawlessness. Individuals are forbidden to take revenge. Through Moses, God set Israel as a light to the whole world (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, 60:3, Matthew 5:14), and established a supreme court – the Sanhedrin. He gave them His Holy Spirit to impart His judgments to His people, and ultimately to the world. “So Moses went out and told the people the words of Yahweh. Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent. Then Yahweh came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed it upon the seventy elders” (Numbers 11:24-25). Yahweh said, “What great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?  Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (Deuteronomy 4:8-9).


Yahweh said, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17) – the Sixth Commandment. Yahweh said, “Whosoever sheds man’s blood, by man (through the human court) shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6). God gave His supreme court, 3500 years ago, the authority to interpret this and mete out the penalties.


In the Talmud we have sixty-three tractates. This book is one tractate – Sanhedrin. This is a history of the rules of the Sanhedrin – the Supreme Court that God established 3500 years ago. This Court said the following rule applies even to a heathen court: “A heathen is executed for the violation of the seven Noachian Laws; the Divine Law having revealed this one – murder.” “He is executed even for the murder of an embryo” (Sanhedrin 57a).


God imparts the soul at Tazria – when a woman conceives; it is holy! We are required to treat it as holy. Its intentional destruction is a capital offence by God’s judgment. He did not ask the US Supreme Court’s opinion; rather, He requires them to seek His opinion!


This is not to promote any political party or candidate. However, this paragraph is pertinent to today’s portion:


The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay, and we oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

(The 2008 Democratic National Platform – Section III  Article 14  / Page 50)


God holds all of the rights! Today we hear of all kinds of “rights” that God has not granted to us. God retains the right to choose when we are conceived (when a soul is imparted) and when we die (when a soul is taken) – except that He gave command for earthly courts to apply capital punishment.



The Holiness of Sex – Part 2


The original Hebrew heading of today’s next chapter was not “Leviticus 13” but “Tzaraat” – not “Leprosy” as it is commonly translated, but a divine discipline for slander or sexual deviancy. The subject is still the holiness of sex.


The marriage bed is holy (Hebrews 13:4). Yahweh, the Eternal Gracious One, created it to be enjoyable by both parties. We should be grateful and seek His glory.


Adam and Eve were created by God and instructed to populate the world. In 130 years, they had three sons, and by Hebrew tradition three daughters who became the sons’ wives. As the world’s population grew, and man’s condition deteriorated from Adam’s perfection, God instituted protective regulations forbidding incest – marriage between close relatives (Leviticus 20:17).


Yahweh’s eternal design is the marriage of one man and one woman; this is holiness. Yeshua affirmed this when asked about divorce, using Adam and Eve as the standard (Matthew 19:3-6). The hymen provides a blood covenant between husband and wife, which ultimately reflects the blood covenant that we have through Yeshua. Notice how that covenantal pairing can only be between a male & female (NDC).


The Seventh Commandment is “You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14, Deuteronomy 5:18); God’s judgment is death for adultery (Leviticus 20:10). God’s judgment is death for bestiality (Leviticus 20:15-16). God’s judgment is death for homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13). We will look at this in more detail in a few weeks.


Here is another pertinent quote:

A More Perfect Union

We support the full inclusion of all families, including same-sex couples, in the life of our nation, and support equal responsibility, benefits, and protections. We will enact a comprehensive bipartisan non-discrimination act. We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us.

(The 2008 Democratic National Platform Section III  Article 16 / Page 52)


Is this only a personal matter? Should we be “tolerant?”


In a previous lesson about forgiveness, we saw that God’s requirement for believers is to seek to overcome sin in our own lives, to seek repentance in others, and finally to seek forcible legal action when there is no repentance. It is not “loving” to allow sin to continue.


“Righteousness exalts a nation” (Proverbs 14:34). Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown for sin (Genesis 18:20) – not because of an enemy nation or monetary problems, but because God judged them when they refused to govern themselves as commanded. This was written for our example (1 Corinthians 10:11).


 Yeshua said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Torah until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-19).


We can learn holiness; we can promote holiness. Then we will be blessed both here and in eternity!


Yeshua was a Torah-observant Jew (Yahudi), and the apostles were all Hebrews, including Matthew and Luke (whose name is common for a Hellenized Jew). Constantine and King James were anti-Semites. Today, we are considering Torah-observance and some of God’s ancient disciplinary methods.


Tumah (toom-ah, impurity) refers to spiritual contamination, usually that which can be transmitted to other people, even through things. Following the laws of tumah from dead animals (previous chapter 11), we have the laws of tumah from childbirth (chapter 12), and then the laws of tumah from slander (chapter 13). A person who is impure is called a metzora. A metzora who is quarantined / separated is called a niddah.


(Ezra 6:21-22) And the sons of Israel who returned from exile and all those who had separated themselves from the (tumah) impurity of the nations of the land to join them, to seek Yahweh God of Israel, ate the Passover. And they observed the Feast of Unleavened Breads seven days with joy, for Yahweh had caused them to rejoice, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria toward them to encourage them in the work of the house of God, the God of Israel.


While tumah is a result of the fall, it is not the same as sin: we are often required to become impure, though that would make us unfit to enter the Holy Temple until cleansing. Tumah relates to death – the result of the fall.


In chapter 11, it is from touching dead animals or people – and we are required to bury our dead relatives, though not while on duty performing the Temple service.


In chapter 12, it is from childbirth – and since Adam’s fall, all are born “spiritually dead”. Spiritual contamination is transmitted.


In chapter 13, it is from slander and anger – which fall under the commandment category of murder (slander is destroying another’s name). Isaiah 32:7 describes one who “devises wicked schemes to destroy the afflicted with slander.” Slander and anger can spiritually contaminate – spreading like fire.


Leviticus 12

At the birth of Yeshua, no spiritual contamination was transmitted: Mary’s conception was “pure” (Matt 1:20); Yeshua was sinless because He had no sinful earthly father. So, why did Mary wait the required times and bring the required offerings for childbirth? Similarly, why did Yeshua wash in the mikvah (Jordan baptistery)? John asked that, and Yeshua answered: “It is proper to us to fulfill all of the Torah (all righteousness)” – Matthew 3:15.


The total period of two levels of impurity, after childbirth, are forty days for a boy and eighty days for a girl child. We see this as likely relating to the curse from the time of Eve, not from any individual sin of a mother related to childbirth, as some commentators suggest. All explanations in both our Christian and Jewish commentaries seem totally inadequate to show a reason for this difference.


Leviticus 13

Tzaraat (tza-ra-at) is commonly translated “leprosy.”


Leprosy is Hansen’s Disease. It is a popular mistaken idea that, with this disease, people’s fingers and toes rot and fall off. Actually, this is a disease of the nervous system, where people lose feeling. As a result of being unable to feel, people unknowingly sustain burns, animal bites, and other injuries. In poor southeast Asian countries and South Pacific islands, where this disease is prevalent, rats may bite off fingers or toes while one sleeps.


The quarantine for tzaraat is not consistent with disease prevention methods. One stricken with tzaraat is not considered unclean when the malady covers the entire body, but is unclean when the body begins to heal (v.13:13). When a house is stricken (v.14:26), the items inside are not quarantined. If a newlywed is stricken during a Festival, he is not quarantined until the Festival is over!


The word tzora (singular form of tzaraat) is a contraction of tozia ra, one who spreads slander (Arachin 15b). Tzaraat was a physical manifestation of a spiritual problem, a disciplinary punishment. Until the slanderer learned to overcome slandering, he was quarantined from society, having to shout “Unclean!” to anyone coming within hearing range. One stricken with tzaraat is called a metzora.



© 2017  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)