Leviticus 12–15 Explained and Made Relevant to YOU

Leviticus chapters 12 through 15  are some of the most distasteful and difficult to explain in the whole Bible, much less to relate to and to apply to our lives. After all, who wants to talk about diseases, disgusting molds and mildews, and bodily discharges? And who can relate to leprosy? Yuk!

Yet the Torah contains these subjects for a reason. Yes, sanitation, cleanliness and our physical good health is important to our Creator for obvious reasons, but lurking behind this distasteful and, at times, even revulsive subject is a much deeper issue: the disease of sin. When we view sin in terms of a contagious spiritual disease, suddenly we gain a new and deeper understanding of its destructive nature.

Even though the old adage, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not in the Bible, it is a biblical truism. Our cleanliness at all levels, body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit are vital to a right relationship with Elohim. He is holy or set-apart (i.e. from the pollution, filth and defilement of this world), and without holiness, no one can see Elohim (Heb 12:14). In essence, holiness is nothing more than spiritual cleanliness. This is the deeper meaning behind Leviticus chapters 12 through 15.

Please take the time to read these chapters in Leviticus, then return to this blog and read my commentary on them. The goal of this discussion is to attain a higher level of spiritual holiness and cleanliness resulting in a closer walk with YHVH Elohim, our Creator, resulting in restored relationships with our fellow man as well. How great is that?

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot (the plural of parashah meaning “Torah portion” in Hebrew) are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. 

As we shall see, the causes of ritual impurity involve sin issues. As a remedy to this problem, the Torah prescribes procedures that the afflicted person had to follow in order to be deemed cleansed and thus be readmitted into the camp of Israel after having been temporarily expelled because of ritual impurity. All the ritual cleansing laws prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

These two parshiot dealing with diseased and unclean persons immediately come after the laws concerning clean and unclean meats (Lev 11). What the Israelites ate as well as Continue reading


On Bodily Emissions and Tithing

Here is an email question I just received from a saint in England who is doing his best to follow the Torah. He had some questions about ritual cleanliness and tithing. Here is my answer to to him. — Natan
Regrading Leviticus 15 and laws concerning bodily discharges, it is all about good hygiene and cleanliness.
Women now have feminine hygiene products that keep their blood flow contained, so that it doesn’t come into contact with anyone else, so, in my estimation, this fulfills the Lev 15 requirements pertaining to that subject. If men become unclean because of a nocturnal emission, they now have quick access to showers with which to clean themselves. I don’t see that ritual uncleanness is any longer the main issue that it was in the days of the tabernacle and temple. These institutions no longer exist, therefore, we can’t fulfill these same requirements in the way there were at that time. Now we are the temple of the Spirit of Elohim who lives in us continually  because of our spiritual rebirth, cleansing of our sins by Yeshua’s blood and our continual relationship with him.
The Bible in many places instructs us to be holy or set-apart as Elohim is, and that without holiness no one will see him. What is holiness? it is acting holy as Elohim is. It is following the example of Yeshua about living cleanly—especially spiritually. This mostly has to do with the heart and mind as Yeshua teaches in Matt 15:1–20. There he instructs his disciples and us about worrying less about eating with unwashed hands and more about the filth that come out of our mouths through unholy words. That is not to say that we aren’t to be concerned about physical cleanliness. The Torah has a lot to say about this when it comes to disease detection, treatment and prevention, diet, washing and cleanliness and burying bodily waste for example. The phrase “cleanliness is next to godliness” may not be in the Bible, but it’s a biblical concept.
Overall, however, the Bible focuses more on inner spiritual cleanliness than outward, but we need to follow both the letter and the spirit of the law in this regard as best we can as Yeshua clearly teachings throughout his Sermon on the Mount teaching (Matt 5–7). We will be blessed in all respects in this life and the next life if we do.
With regard to tithing, I have a written teaching on that subject, which you can access at https://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/tithing.pdf.
In brief, tithing as per the Torah was largely an institution that depended on the Levitical priesthood and tabernacle/temple system and was agriculturally based, since Israel was an agricultural nation. The Torah teaches that there are three tithes: a feast tithe which the person set aside to finance his trips to keep YHVH’s feasts, the tithe that went to support the Levitical priesthood and the tithe to help the poor and needy. However, the Bible also teaches that giving one-tenth of our income to YHVH or his servants who are doing his spiritual work on this earth is a principle that predates the Levitical and temple systems. Therefore, I believe that tithing is a universal and eternal principle that all the saints should practice. The apostles, while not addressing the tithing principle directly, do speak of supporting the poor and of giving to the ministry who feeds them spiritually.
I personally have practiced tithing all my life, and YHVH has blessed and sustained me because of it. For me, giving him a tenth of my income is a form of worshipping him and I would never think of withholding this from him because it’s his. After all, considering all the blessings he has given to me freely (life, food, air water, this earth, his Son, his truth, family, good health, eternal life, etc.), how can I not love and honor him in every way possible?

Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness

Open toilet bowl isolated. File contains a path to isolation.

Deuteronomy 23:10–15, When the army goes out. With regard to the sanctity of the camp, the Jewish sages teach that whereas other armies triumph by force of numbers and arms, Israel’s success is in the hands of Elohim, and, therefore, its army’s most potent weapon is its righteous behavior (The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash, p. 1055).

Holiness and righteousness (i.e., obedience to YHVH’s commands coupled with trusting faith in Yeshua and in his blood atonement) can help us defeat our enemies (see Rev 1:5; 12:11, 17; 14:12).

Though the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not found in the Scriptures, it is nevertheless a true statement in light of this Torah passage.


What about the family purity laws?

Here’s a question I got today from a woman about the family purity laws of Lev 12 and 15.

I have this big questionmark when it comes to purity laws. How did Yeshuah fullfill the these laws? I haven’t been able to find an answer to for a very long time and I hope you could  help.

Here’s my answer. Hopefully this will help some of you as well. (Your thoughts and comments will be appreciated!):

Shalom K—,

Let’s first establish one thing.When we say “fulfill” as per Matt 5:17, we don’t mean “to do away with” or “destroy” as the mainstream church de facto infers from this passage. The Greek word means “to bring to its fullest completion” or “to make full.” This is the opposite of rendering the laws of the Torah obsolete and irrelevant to the redeemed believer’s life. Yeshua then goes on to explain in the rest of the Sermon on the Mount how both the letter and the spirit of the law are fully applicable to the life of his disciples. Curiously, the Jewish elite of Yeshua’s day focused more on the letter of the law obedience and often missed the spirit of the law, whereas in mainstream Christianity today, the focus is often more on the spirit rather than on the letter. Men just can’t seem to get the right balance! Yet Yeshua was perfectly balanced and presented a full, complete understanding of the Torah and urged his followers to walk out both the letter and the spirit, and declared that those who do both are the most pleasing to the Father (e.g., see John 4:23–24).
Now with regard specifically to the purity laws, Yeshua didn’t come to abolish them or any other laws. Having said that, to keep any of the laws of the Torah exactly as the Israelites kept them (in a letter of the law manner) all conditions that existed then when the laws were given must be exactly the same today. What are these conditions? Women still go through their menstrual cycles. That hasn’t changed. Husbands need to refrain from physical relation with their wives during this time. This hasn’t changed. With regard to the blood touching things such as the woman, bedding, couches, or other people, some things in this arena have changed. We now have feminine hygiene products that keep the flow contained. These things didn’t exist in antiquity, so others touching the blood is no longer an issue today. We have running water, and flush toilets and lots of paper products to keep us clean. Beyond that, it’s probably a good thing for a woman to be alone during the time of her cycle due to physical and emotional issues that can make being around her rather difficult. However, with women now in the work force, it may not be possible for her to sequester herself “outside the camp” for a week or more. At the very least, her family needs to be more understanding at these times when life and death are occurring in her body, and they need to “give her space.” The caring and loving husband needs to lead by his good example in this.
There are other aspects to the family purity laws that I haven’t touched on in this brief discussion, but I hope this gives you a good basis to understand the overall subject. In brief, we do the best we can to observe these laws by maintaining good hygienic practices,husbands keeping their distance sexually from their wives during this time. The Torah teaches that blood, human and animal, needs to be respected and properly disposed of. Excellent hygienic practices is a big step in fulfilling these Torah requirements. This is my quick answer to a complex issue. 
May YHVH bless you for endeavoring to love him more fully by keeping is commandments!