Metzorah – Rishon

Shaving Grace

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d instructed Moshe as to how a person with tzaraas is cleansed. The kohein visits the metzora (the person with tzaraas) to determine that the affected area has healed. When it has, the kohein will arrange for two kosher birds, some cedar, some hyssop and some crimson wool.

The first bird would be slaughtered over a clay pot of spring water. The kohein would dip the live bird and the other objects into a mixture of the water and the first bird’s blood. He would then sprinkle the metzora seven times and release the live bird.

The person being purified would dip his clothes in a mikvah and shave off all his hair. The person would then immerse himself, after which he could return to the camp. (Verse 8 says that he may not “return to his tent” for a week, but that’s a euphemism for resuming marital relations. See Mishna Negaim 14:2.)

On the seventh day, the kohein shaves the person all over, who immerses himself and his clothes. After that, he’s considered clean but the next day he must bring an offering of two male and one female sheep, plus flour and oil. The first male sheep is offered as an asham (guilt offering).

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