Since the Torah is divided into 54 portions and the solar year contains only 50.5 weeks, several parashiyot are read together at specific times of the year in order to complete the entire Torah cycle. Often these double portions share common threads. This week, physical and spiritual purification are codified, uniting the double parashyiot Tazria and M’tzora. For Parashat Tazria, The Circle Of Seclusion addresses the laws surrounding childbirth for both genders while Abraham’s Legacy comments on the evolution of the Covenant, or brit milah that Abraham made with God millennia ago. For Parashat M’tzora, Of Body & Spirit examines the laws and practices of personal and community hygiene as Priest & Penitent considers the connection between purification, sin and repentance.
More detailed interpretations for these images may be found on pages 157-158 of my book, Between Heaven & Earth: An Illuminated Torah Commentary (Pomegranate, 2009). It is available from Pomegranate by phone: 1-800-227-1428 http://www.pomegranate.com/a166.html.