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Leviticus Chapter 14
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Purification of a Leper
14:1 God spoke to Moses, saying:
14:2 This is the law concerning the leper when he is purified and placed under the jurisdiction of the priest.
14:3 The priest shall go outside the camp, where he shall examine the leper to determine that the leprous mark has healed.
14:4 The priest shall then order that for the person undergoing purification there be taken two live kosher birds, a piece of cedar, some crimson [wool], and a hyssop branch.
14:5 The priest shall give orders that one bird be slaughtered over fresh spring water in a clay bowl.
14:6 He shall then take the live bird together with the piece of cedar, the crimson wool, and the hyssop. Along with the live bird, he shall dip [the other articles] into the spring water mixed with the blood of the slaughtered bird.
14:7 He shall then sprinkle [this mixture] seven times on the person undergoing purification from the leprous curse, thus rendering him clean. He shall send the living bird away toward the fields.
14:8 The person undergoing purification shall then immerse his clothing, and [the priest] shall shave off all the person's hair. He shall then immerse in a mikvah and thus complete [the first part] of the purification process. He may return to the camp, but he must remain outside his tent for seven days.
14:9 On the seventh day, [the priest] shall shave off all [the person's] hair. His head, beard, eyebrows and other [body] hair must all be shaved off. He shall then immerse his clothing and body in a mikvah and he is clean.
14:10 On the eighth day, he shall take two unblemished [male] sheep, one unblemished yearling female sheep, three-tenths [of an ephah] of the best grade wheat flour mixed with oil as a meal offering, and one log of [olive] oil.
14:11 The priest tending to the purification process shall stand [all these items] and the person undergoing purification before God at the Communion Tent entrance.
14:12 The priest shall take one [male] sheep and present it as a guilt offering along with the log of oil. He shall wave them in the manner prescribed for a wave offering before God.
14:13 He shall then slaughter the sheep in the same place where burnt offerings and sin offerings are slaughtered, in a holy place. This guilt offering is holy of holies, and it is just like a sin offering to the priest.
14:14 The priest shall take some of the guilt offering's blood and place it on the right ear lobe, right thumb, and right big toe of the person undergoing purification.
14:15 The priest shall take some of the log of oil and pour it into the palm of [another] priest's hand.
14:16 [This second] priest shall then dip his right forefinger into the oil in his left hand, and with his finger, sprinkle some oil before God seven times.
14:17 The priest shall place some of the oil in his hand on the right ear, right thumb, and right big toe of the person undergoing purification, over the guilt offering's blood.
14:18 The priest shall then place the rest of the oil in his hand on the head of the person undergoing purification. In this manner, the priest shall make atonement for him before God.
14:19 The priest shall then sacrifice the sin offering to remove the defilement for the person undergoing purification. After that, he shall slaughter the burnt offering,
14:20 and the priest shall present the burnt offering and the meal offering on the altar. The priest shall thus make atonement for him, and [the person] is then ritually clean.

The Poor Leper's Offering
14:21 If [the leper] is poor and cannot afford [the above sacrifices], he shall take one [male] sheep as a guilt offering. This shall be the wave offering to atone for him. [He shall also take] one-tenth [ephah] of the best grade wheat meal mixed with oil as a meal offering, and a log of olive oil.
14:22 [In addition, he shall bring] two turtle doves or two young common doves, as he can afford, one for a sin offering, and one for a burnt offering.
14:23 On the eighth day of his purification, he shall bring them to the priest, to the Communion Tent entrance, before God.
14:24 The priest shall take the guilt offering sheep and the log of oil, and wave them in the motions prescribed for a wave offering before God.
14:25 He shall slaughter the guilt offering sheep. The priest shall take the blood of the guilt offering and place it on the right ear lobe, the right thumb, and the right big toe of the person undergoing purification.
14:26 The priest shall then pour some of the oil onto the left hand of [another] priest.
14:27 With his right finger, [this second] priest shall sprinkle some of the oil on his left hand seven times before God.
14:28 The priest shall place some of the oil from his hand on the right ear lobe, right thumb and right big toe of the person undergoing purification, right over the place where the blood of the guilt offering [was put].
14:29 The priest shall then place the rest of the oil that is in his hand on the head of the person undergoing purification. [With all this] he shall make atonement for [the person] before God.
14:30 He shall then prepare one of the turtle doves or young common doves that [the person] was able to afford.
14:31 [Taking this offering] that the person could afford, [the priest] shall sacrifice one [bird] as a sin offering and one as a meal offering, [and then present] the meal offering. The priest shall thus make atonement before God for the person undergoing purification.
14:32 The above is the [entire] law concerning the person who has the mark of the leprous curse on him, and who cannot afford [more] for his purification.

Discoloration in Houses
14:33 God spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:
14:34 When you come to the land of Canaan, which I am giving to you as an inheritance, I will place the mark of the leprous curse in houses in the land you inherit.
14:35 The owner of the house shall come and tell the priest, 'It looks to me as if there is [something] like a [leprous] mark in the house.'
14:36 The priest shall give orders that the house be emptied out before [any] priest comes to see the mark, so that everything in the house will not become unclean. Only then shall a priest come to see the house.
14:37 He shall examine the mark [to determine if] the mark on the wall of the house consists of penetrating streaks that are bright green or bright red, which appear to be below [the surface of] the wall.
14:38 [If they are,] the priest shall leave the house [and stand just outside] the entrance of the house. The priest shall then quarantine the house for seven days.
14:39 On the seventh day, he shall return and examine [it to determine] whether or not the mark has expanded on the wall of the house.
14:40 [If it has], the priest shall give orders that [people] remove the stones having the mark, and that they throw [the stones] outside the city in an unclean place.
14:41 He shall then have the inside of the house scraped off all around [the mark], and [the people doing it] shall discard the removed dust outside the city in an unclean place.
14:42 [The people] shall take other stones to replace the [removed] stones. [The owner] shall then plaster the [entire] house with new clay.
14:43 If, after the stones have been removed and the house has been scraped and replastered, the mark comes back
14:44 the priest shall return and examine it. If the mark has spread in the house [again], it is a malignant leprous mark which is unclean.
14:45 [The priest] must [order that] the house be demolished, and its stones, wood and all the clay from the house shall be brought outside the city to an unclean place.
14:46 As long as the house is in quarantine, anyone entering it shall be unclean until evening.
14:47 If one [remains in the house long enough to] relax, he must immerse [both his body and] his clothing. [However] he must immerse his clothing [only if he has remained] in the house [long enough] to eat [a small meal].
14:48 However, if the priest returns [at the end of the seven days] after the house has been replastered, and he sees that the mark has not reappeared in the house, then the mark has gone away and the priest shall declare the house clean.
14:49 To purify the house, he shall order two birds, a piece of cedar, some crimson wool, and a hyssop branch.
14:50 He shall slaughter one bird over fresh spring water in a clay bowl.
14:51 He shall then take the piece of cedar, the hyssop, the crimson wool, and the live bird, dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and fresh spring water and sprinkle it on the house seven times.
14:52 Thus, with the bird's blood and spring water, along with the live bird, cedar wood, hyssop and crimson wool, he shall purify the house.
14:53 He shall then send the live bird outside the city toward the fields. [In this manner] he shall make atonement for the house, and it is then clean.
14:54 The above is the [entire] law for every leprous mark, bald patch,
14:55 leprous mark in a garment or house,
14:56 and [white] blotch, discoloration or spot [on the skin],
14:57 so that decisions can be rendered as to the day one is rendered clean and the day one is rendered unclean. This is the [entire] law concerning the leprous curse.



Commentary:

placed under the jurisdiction...
  (Saadia; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Literally, 'he shall be brought,' or, '[the case] shall be brought.'

outside the camp
  See Leviticus 13:46. The leper is not permitted to remain inside a walled city (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 10:7).

kosher
  (Rashi). Literally, 'clean.' See Leviticus 11:13-19.

birds
  Tzipor in Hebrew. According to Talmudic tradition, the bird used was the deror (Negaim 14:1; cf. Psalms 84:4, Proverbs 26:2). Some identify this as the swallow, hirundo in Latin, hirondelle in French (Rashi on Proverbs 26:2; Septuagint on Psalms 84:4). Nevertheless, among the swallows there are some varieties that are kosher and some that are not (cf. Radak, Sherashim, s.v. Derar; Pri Chadash, Orach Chaim 497:9; Pri Megadim, Mishbetzoth Zahav, Yoreh Deah 82:7).

Other sources, however, identify the deror as the sparrow, passer in Latin, and pasra in Old Spanish (Radak on Psalms 84:4; Tifereth Yisrael, Negaim 14:4).

The Talmud apparently identifies the deror with a bird known as the senunith (Chullin 62a; Ramban; cf. Tosafoth Chullin 139b, s.v. Ta Sh'ma; Nekudoth HaKesef, Yoreh Deah 82:7). The Talmud notes that only the white-breasted varieties of this bird are kosher, while the all black ones are not (Chullin 62a; cf. Rashba, Torath HaBayith 65a).

The Targum identifies the senunith with the agur in Jeremiah 8:7, which some also identify as the swallow (Rashi, Radak ad. loc.), rondenella in Italian (Radak, Sherashim). Others, however, identify the senunith as a species of jay, gayo in Spanish, gayt in Old Spanish (Radak, loc. cit.). These were birds of the glandualia family, glondrina in Old Spanish (Beth Yosef, Yoreh Deah 82); hadolo nadrina in Provincial (Rabbenu Yerocham, Toledoth Adam VeChavah 15:21, 132b). As the Talmud notes, the jay is a bird closely related to the crow, but more colorful. To some degree, it can mimic human speech (cf. Radak, loc. cit.).

cedar
  The piece must be at least one cubit (18') long and one-fourth the cross section of a bedpost (Negaim 14:6; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1). Some say that the piece was the size of a hatchet handle (Raavad on Sifra). It appears that a bedpost in those times had approximately the same diameter as an egg (cf. Betza 3b).

crimson wool
  See Exodus 25:4. This consisted of combed out unspun wool (Rashi; Bertenoro, Tosefoth Yom Tov on Negaim 14:1). According to tradition, one shekel (0.8 oz.) of wool would be used (Yoma 42a; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1).

hyssop...
  See Exodus 12:22. The branch would have to be at least a handbreadth (3') long (Niddah 26a; Yad, loc. cit.) See Numbers 19:6.

slaughtered
  The slaughtered bird is then buried (Negaim 14:1; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1).

spring water
  Mayim chaim in Hebrew, literally, 'living water.' There must be a revi'ith ( log or 2 ounces) of water in the bowl (Ibid.)

bowl
  It must be new (Ibid.).

together with...
  The cedar and the hyssop are tied together with the end of the crimson skein of wool (Ibid.; cf. Tifereth Yisrael, Negaim 14:11). Some say that this must be prepared before the first bird is slaughtered (Rashi).

on the person
  On the back of his hand (Negaim, Yad, loc. cit.). Some say that it is sprinkled on his forehead (Negaim 14:1; Sifra).

the priest
  (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1, 3; cf. Tosefta, Negaim 8:6, HaGra ad loc. 12).

mikvah
  See Exodus 29:4. Literally, 'with the water.'

outside his tent
  That is, he may not be intimate with his wife (Sifra; Negaim 14:2; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 11:1). During this period, too, he renders unclean anything with which he comes in contact (Yad 11:2).

three-tenths...
  Approximately 6 quarts. This is one-tenth for each animal.

mixed with oil
  See Leviticus 2:1.

log
  Approximately 10 ounces.

Communion Tent entrance
  But the leper still may not enter the sanctuary grounds, and must remain outside (Rashi; Yad, Mechuserey Kapparah 4:2).

guilt offering
  Asham. See Leviticus 7:1-7.

manner prescribed
  See Exodus 29:24.

same place...
  To the north of the altar; see Leviticus 1:11, 4:33, 6:18, 7:2.

right ear lobe...
  See Leviticus 8:23.

some of...
  The rest of the oil could be used by the priests (Yad, Mechuserey Kapparah 4:2, 3).

another
  (Sifra; Negaim 14:10; Yad, Mechuserey Kapparah 4:2).

before God
  Toward the Holy of Holies (Ibid.).

the sin offering
  The female sheep; see Leviticus 4:32.

the burnt offering
  The second male sheep; see Leviticus 1:10.

wave offering
  See Leviticus 14:12.

one-tenth ephah
  Approximately 2 quarts.

entire
  (Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid). See note on Leviticus 13:59.

It looks...
  (Sifra; Negaim 12:5). Or, '[Something] like a [leprous] mark can be seen by me in the house,' implying that the house is naturally illuminated so that the mark can be seen (Sifra; cf. Negaim 2:3; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:5).

penetrating streaks
  Shekaruroth in Hebrew. This is an area where the stain appears to have penetrated the wall (Targum Yonathan; Sifra; Rashi; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:3). Some, however, say that it is an actual eroded area (Targum, according to Ibn Janach). Others say that it is an area of hairlike lines (Saadia; Ibn Ezra) or threadlike cracks (Ibn Janach; Radak, Sherashim). According to still other sources, it is simply a dark area (Radak, Sherashim).

The spot must be at least as large as two beans next to each other, around ' x 1' in size (Sifra; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:1). See note on Leviticus 13:2, s.v. 'and it is suspected.'

Others translate this verse, 'the mark on [the stones] imbedded in the walls of the house is bright red ...' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

bright green...
  See note on Leviticus 13:49.

just outside
  (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:5; Sifra; cf. Tosefoth Yom Tov, Negaim 12:6).

quarantine
  See Leviticus 13:4.

people
  Specifically, others owning an adjacent house sharing a common wall with the stricken house (Sifra).

stones
  From the plural, we see that at least two stones must be stained (Negaim 12:3; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:7). Furthermore only normal building stone can render the house unclean, but if even a single wall in the house is made of brick, marble, or bedrock, the house cannot become unclean (Negaim 12:2. Bertenoro ad loc.; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:8).

house
  Or, 'place from which the stone has been removed' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah; cf. Tosefta, Negaim 6:7).

scraped off
  (Targum; Rashbam; Ibn Ezra). Katza in Hebrew. This implies that all the clay covering the stones must be scraped off (Radak, Sherashim). This teaches that for a house to become unclean, it must be covered with adobe or clay at least partially (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:17).

owner
  (Sifra; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 15:4).

entire
  (Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 15:2).

again
  (cf. Rashi; Ramban; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah. See Negaim 13:1; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 15:2).

wood
  From this we see that the house must contain some wood (Sifra; Negaim 12:4; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 14:7).

unclean until evening
  After immersing.

long enough to relax
  (Sifra; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah; cf. Rash, Bertenoro on Negaim 13:9; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 16:6). Literally, 'One who lies down in the house ...'

However...
  (Ibid. See Rambam on Negaim 13:9; Eruvin 4a).

small meal
  This is called a peras, and it is a small amount of bread and a relish. According to some the piece of bread must be the size of three eggs, while according to others, four eggs (cf. Orach Chaim 612:4; Tosefoth Yom Tov on Negaim 13:9).

on the house
  On the mashkof, the beam over the door (Negaim 14:1; Yad, Tumath Tzaraath 15:8; see Exodus 12:22).

blotch, discoloration or spot
  See Leviticus 13:2.

as to
  (Saadia; cf. Rashi).





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