Skip to main content

תַזְרִיעַ / Tazria Parsha Overview: Like Pinocchio, only with blotches.

וַיִּקְרָא / vayikra / Leviticus 12:1-13:59:  Read ithear it.

This is a basic overview of the parsha story in a format that can be adapted for a wide range of ages. Sources include parsha text, commentaries and midrash.  When introducing midrash or other non-pshat elements, I use the words “some people think” or similar.

Please see the Vayeishev overview for how we use these narratives  in our homeschool.  I also have copywork sheets to go with the weekly parsha… enjoy!

image Do you remember the story of Pinocchio?

He was a little wooden marionette whose nose magically began to grow every time he lied.

Those changes weren’t permanent – when he finally told the truth, his nose shrank again.

Can you imagine what it would be like if everybody knew you’d been lying?

And what if there was a kind of bad speech that was even worse than lying?

This week’s parsha tells us about something like this – only it affected all of bnei Yisrael!


This week’s parsha, Tazria, talks mostly about what to do for a person with Tzara’as (צָרַעַת).

What is Tzara’as?  It was kind of like a disease, only not really.  How?

·         It WAS like a disease because it affected a person’s body – it made their skin white and blotchy.

·         But it was NOT like a disease because it was not caused by germs or injury or anything else in the person’s body.

It was a disease caused by the person’s middos – how they acted.


What kind of behaviour could cause Tzara’as?

Being stingy, not sharing; maybe even murder; but most importantly – how you spoke!

Just like Pinocchio, if you spoke badly about another person, you could wake up covered in white blotches!

How embarrassing!  Everybody would know you’d been speaking badly.

The kind of speaking that caused Tzara’as wasn’t lying, like with Pinocchio:  it was called lashon hora.


image Lashon Hora?  What’s that???

Let’s imagine your friend Shmuli tells you:  “I saw Clarence steal a chocolate bar last week!”

It’s true; Clarence really did steal a chocolate bar.  But it’s still lashon hora for Shmuli to tell you. 

Here’s why:

·         It’s true.  Unlike with Pinocchio, lashon hora is always true.  We can’t say it anyway.

·         It’s new.  You didn’t know this before.  Clarence didn’t tell you himself – probably because he was ashamed.

·         Can’t undo.  Maybe you really admired Clarence before.  Now, you may always think of Clarence as a thief.

We are not allowed to say lashon hora.  We are also not allowed to listen or believe it.  That can be very hard.


image Not every skin blotch was Tzara’as!

If something appeared on your skin, you’d have to take it to show a kohein.

There were three things that could happen:

·         If it was definitely Tzara’as, you would have to go out of the camp of bnei Yisrael until it healed.

·         If it was NOT Tzara’as, you could go about your regular things – or see a doctor about your skin blotch!

·         If the kohein was not sure, you’d have to stay by yourself for seven days and then go see him again.

Waiting seven days was like a warning – you could figure out your bad habits, and start to fix them.

Even outside the camp, a person with Tzara’as could do teshuvah and their Tzara’as would heal quickly.


Do we have Tzara’as in our times?

In English, in some versions of the Chumash, Tzara’as is sometimes translated as “leprosy.”  This is a mistake!

There is a disease called “leprosy” in English, which can cause blotchy skin, but it’s caused by tiny germs – bacteria.

Because it’s caused by germs, even good people can get it, but it can be healed with medicine.

In our time, without the Mishkan and kohanim working in it, there is no real Tzara’as anymore.


image But we still have to avoid lashon hora!

Our lives are very different from bnei Yisrael in the midbar or in ancient times in eretz Yisrael.

·         We were not slaves in Mitzrayim, so we didn’t see the amazing things Hashem did to bring us out.

·         We have no Mishkan or korbanos, so we use tefillah (davening) instead to be close with Hashem

·         We have no Tzara’as, so it’s easy to think Hashem doesn’t notice how we choose our words.


Tzara’as was a warning that a person needed to change their behaviour.  It didn’t just come on skin:  it could come on clothes or houses as well.  As we will see in next week’s parsha, each type of Tzara’as was a different kind of warning…!


Popular posts from this blog

לימודי קודש/Limudei Kodesh Copywork & Activity Printables

Welcome to my Limudei Kodesh / Jewish Studies copywork and activity printables page.  As of June 2013, I am slowly but surely moving all my printables over to 4shared because Google Docs / Drive is just too flaky for me. What you’ll find here: Weekly Parsha Copywork More Parsha Activities More Chumash / Tanach Activities Yom Tov Copywork & Activities Tefillah Copywork Pirkei Avos / Pirkei Avot Jewish Preschool Resources Other printables! For General Studies printables and activities, including Hebrew-English science resources and more, click here . For Miscellaneous homeschool helps and printables, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you just want to say Thank You, here’s a

Hebrew/ עברית & English General Studies Printables

For Jewish Studies, including weekly parsha resources and copywork, click here . If you use any of my worksheets, activities or printables, please leave a comment or email me at Jay3fer “at” gmail “dot” com, to link to your blog, to tell me what you’re doing with it, or just to say hi!  If you want to use them in a school, camp or co-op setting, please email me (remove the X’s) for rates. If you enjoy these resources, please consider buying my weekly parsha book, The Family Torah :  the story of the Torah, written to be read aloud – or any of my other wonderful Jewish books for kids and families . English Worksheets & Printables: (For Hebrew, click here ) Science :  Plants, Animals, Human Body Math   Ambleside :  Composers, Artists History Geography Language & Literature     Science General Poems for Elemental Science .  Original Poems written by ME, because the ones that came with Elemental Science were so awful.  Three pages are included:  one page with two po

It's Heart Month: 3 days left to save lives!

Dear Friends & Family: Hi, everybody! Sorry I can’t stop by in person... you're a bit out of my area.  :-) We’re out walking up and down on our street on this beautiful afternoon to raise money for Heart & Stroke.  This cause is important to me (I won't say it's close to my heart , because that would be tacky!).  I hope you'll join me by donating online. Growing up, I watched as every single one of my grandparents' lives were shortened by heart disease and strokes, and my father had a defibrillator that saved his life on more than one occasion.  Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 Canadians and are the #1 killer of women. Please click this link to be redirected to my main page at the Heart & Stroke website: Thus ends my personal appeal.  Official information follows.  :-))) ----- Heart disease and stroke is the #1 killer of women - taking more women's lives than all forms of cancer combined. But no one is immune. Th