Tazria Metzora 5772 – Navigating the Tension Between Body and Soul


  • Achor Vekedem Tzartani1)Psalms 139:5: Birth is compared to the original formation of mankind2)Midrash Tanchuma Parshas Tazria
    • As distinct genders
    • As pinnacle of creation
      • With tumaas leida (unique to humanity)
  • Creation initially included ra and chisaron only as potentials (within the Tree of Knowledge)
    • Adam was created fundamentally disconnected from ra and chisaron
    • At the moment of his creation, evil existed in potential, but Adam was not bound to it
  • Adam is a microcosm of the universe
    • Achor: Hashem combined the essence of all created aspects in the formation of Adam’s body3)Zohar.
    • Kedem: Man’s spirit is comprised of the same spiritual hashpaah that Hashem used to fuel the creation
    • Thus, in body and soul, Man’s every action is fueled and enabled by the same processes which underlie creation
  • The cheit brought ra and chisaron into the world
    • Adam’s eating bound ra to his core,
    • Since Adam is a microcosm, ra was thus bound intimately into to the fibre of the cosmos4)Nefesh HaChayim Shaar Aleph
  • Post-cheit, part and parcel with the birth process is the connection to tumah
    • The child causes tumah to the parents, representing and reminding them of the need for tikkun,
  • Forbidden foods strengthen the innate ra in a person
    • The parshah is on the heels of the parshah of forbidden foods,
    • the idea that we musn’t eat certain creatures is related
    • Adam contains within him the essence of all creation, thus there is a point in him related to every species.
      • each creature is composed of varying proportions of basic elements
      • the evil which he ingested from the tree is thus more attracted to certain points of his character
  • Tumah Hayotzei min Haguf
    • The parshah continues to discuss other tumos which emanate from the body: Zav, Negaim, etc
    • Tumah represents a blockage. The body is unable to access its creator through the soul.
    • Ten chataim cause tumah. Most of these are things which cause separation bein adam lechaveiro
    • The process of purification also involves separation between people

Photo Credit: janissary Creative Commons License

References   [ + ]

1. Psalms 139:5
2. Midrash Tanchuma Parshas Tazria
3. Zohar
4. Nefesh HaChayim Shaar Aleph