Why Does the Bible Require New Mothers to Atone after Childbirth?

The sections on purity and impurity in the book of Leviticus—which make up nearly a quarter of the book—are some of the most difficult for the modern reader of the Bible. The laws are complicated, the terminology obscure, the theological or moral message (if there is one) far from obvious, and some of the details (leprous houses, impure females) seeming logically or morally suspect. Even for the religiously observant Jewish reader, these passages, dealing with areas of halakhah rendered moot until the ultimate restoration of the Temple, may have little resonance.

One of the most confounding of such passages appears at the beginning of this week’s Torah reading of Tazria (Leviticus 12-13). Here God tells Moses that when a woman gives birth to a child, she is impure for several weeks, after which she must offer two distinct sacrifices: an “olah,” or burnt offering, and a “ḥatat,” or sin offering…

The full article may be read at Mosaic Magazine.

2 thoughts on “Why Does the Bible Require New Mothers to Atone after Childbirth?

  1. shalvag

    Hi Sarah! I loved this article!! I was actually wondering about that question this whole week—your article was Heaven-sent! You give such interesting answers from such a diverse array of sources! And so powerfully written! Have a great Shabbos, Shalva

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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