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    Rolls & scrolls – Tazria

    Details of childbirth. Definitions of infection. Treatments. Isolation wards.

    It sounds like a medical textbook. In fact it is today’s Torah reading. And as usual it can be read as subtext as well as text.

    An example of the subtext is Rabbi Simlai’s statement in the Talmud (Niddah 30b) concerning the unborn child: “To what may a foetus in its mother’s womb be compared? To a scroll that is rolled up. But when the child emerges into the world, that which is shut is opened and a light shines on its head”.

    The unborn child is not yet a fully recognised person in the eyes of Jewish law. That is why abortion, though a very serious moral offence, is technically speaking not murder.

    On the other hand, it cannot be brushed aside as unimportant; the foetus, though not fully a person, is a potential person, and it is entitled to be born and to bring its own blessing into the world.

    There are other areas of life in which potential must have a chance to be fulfilled, like the scroll which needs its chance to be unrolled.

    A person’s mind needs its opportunity to stretch and grow; what a pity it is when we do not utilise 100% of our brain power and remain living on a superficial level.

    One’s heart needs to have its chance to love, care and share; it is a shame when you live for yourself without reaching out to others and evoking answering love.

    The light of self-fulfilment will not shine above your head unless you allow your scroll to open.

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