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    A strange translation – Tazria

    TazriaThe opening phrase of the portion needs careful attention. The Hebrew is, ishah ki tazri’a v’yal’dah zachar (Lev. 12:2). The common translation is, “If a woman be delivered and bears a male child…”.

    From a grammar point of view it is difficult to regard tazria as “be delivered”. It really means, “If a woman is pregnant…”. There are two stages, pregnancy and childbirth. Childbirth will not happen without pregnancy, but not all pregnancies result in childbirth.

    Samson Raphael Hirsch points out that the root of tazria means “seed”; apart from here, the expression is only found in Gen. 1:11-12, where it refers to plants. He explains that a plant somehow has the instinct to continue their species.

    In regard to a human being, there is more than an instinct involved but a conscious, deliberate decision to keep the human race going into the future. In this activity the woman has what Hirsch calls “the whole spiritual height of her calling”.

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