Tazria & Metzorah 5770

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Categories Media, Torah 5770 (2009 - 2010), Torah Commentary | Tags: , , , | Posted on April 17, 2010

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  1. by Heather Gibson

    On April 15, 2021

    Grant: In this two-portion lesson, you said that tzara’at is not a contagious disease. In my CJB, Leviticus 13:51, 52, 57 and 14:44 actually uses the word contagious in regards to tzara’at affecting a house. Is contagious a good translation? Is it a contagion that spreads like a disease or should it be understood as running the risk of becoming impure/unclean (possibly spiritually) by continued exposure to the physical house? Thanks, Heather PS – The word infection is also used in these passages, and that always makes me think of a contagious situation/condition.

  2. by L. Grant Luton

    On April 18, 2021

    Heather, It is unfortunate that the CJB renders the Hebrew word “ma’am” (מאר) as “contagious”. The word actually means “persistent” (or “malignant”). No one in Scripture contracted tzaraat from touching someone. They would become ritually unclean, but not sick. In fact, a person who was completely covered with tzaraat was considered clean! (13:12-13) This meant that he could touch and be touched by others without them contracting rituals impurity! So, why would this be permitted if the disease was contagious? As to tzaraat of a house, it was not contagious either. But the objects in the house (if they were there when the priest arrived and pronounced the house unclean) would be become ritually unclean.

    Hope this helps!

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