Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Metzora summary

Metzora is a continuation of the previous portion, Tazriah. It begins with the purification process for a Metzora (one who is afflicted with tzora'as). Once the discoloration has healed from his or her skin, the Metzora undergoes a ritual purification which involves bringing a sacrifice and immersing in a Mikva. After seven days he or she may finally return to his house. The Torah also makes provisions for one who cannot afford the full sacrifice, and prescribes a smaller offering for them to bring.
The Torah describes a form of tzora'at which is a discoloration on the walls of a house. Such a house must be quarantined. If after seven days the discoloration has spread, then the affected stones must be removed. If the mark returns, the house must be demolished. During this whole process the house is tamei (ritually impure), and anyone entering into it also becomes tamei.
The Torah describes a type of male genital discharge called Zav. This renders him, or anything that he sits or lies on, tamei. Any person or utensil that he touches also becomes tamei. Once the discharge has ceased, he must count seven clean days. On the eighth day he immerses in a Mikva to purify himself, and brings a purification sacrifice.
When a man has a seminal discharge, or a woman discharges semen after intercourse, he or she becomes tamei. They must immerse in a Mikva and become tahor (ritually pure) after nightfall.
When a woman menstruates she becomes tamei, and also renders anything which she sits or lies on tamei. She must wait seven days, immerse herself in a Mikva, thus becoming tahor at nightfall. If a man has intercourse with her before she has become tahor, he also becomes tamei and makes anything he sits or lies on tamei.
If a woman has a discharge when it is not time for her menstrual period, she must count seven clean days without any discharge before she can become tahor. During this time she also renders anything which she sits or lies on tamei. On the eighth day she must immerse in a Mikva to become pure, and then brings a sacrifice.

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