Rebirth of Our Soul

Yael Eckstein  |  April 12, 2021

Mother and teenage daughter giving each other a big hug.

The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.’” — Leviticus 12: 1-2

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is a double reading, Tazria-Metzora, from Leviticus 12:1—15:33. Tazria means “conceived” and Metzora means “diseased.”

As a parent, I find that one of the most difficult things I often need to do is to punish my children when they misbehave. I know that children need consequences to learn right from wrong. I know that taking away privileges when necessary will help them become better human beings. But when the tears come, or I look into their big sad eyes, it’s so hard! Yet, I know that ultimately meting out appropriate punishments is for their very best.

This week’s Torah portion is a double reading. The first section is called Tazria, which means “conceives” as in: “A woman who becomes pregnant …” The second selection is called Metzora, which means “diseased,” as in: “These are the regulations for any diseased person …” (Leviticus 14:2).

In Judaism, when these two portions are read on the same Sabbath, they have a deep connection. Take a look again at their Hebrew names, and you will notice a similarity in spelling. Both titles share the same root word. But what could possibly be the connection between themes of giving birth and being diseased?

The Rebirth of Our Soul

The answer is that when God sends us dis-ease in our lives it is so that we might experience a rebirth of our soul.

Pain and joy are not opposites. It is often the most painful situations in our lives that bring about the most joy. Our greatest difficulties can push us toward our greatest accomplishments, and our greatest challenges can push us to change for the better. Dis-ease and rebirth are two sides of the same coin.

When we are going through tough times, it’s hard to remember that God loves us. However, just as we sometimes give our children unpleasant circumstances because we know it is ultimately for their good, God only gives us difficulties for our betterment. Just as it hurts us as parents to watch our children suffer, it hurts God to see us suffer, too. Yet, God will give us a dis-ease so that we can experience the rebirth of our soul and become better – and ultimately happier – version of ourselves.

Your Turn:

Think of a time when you experienced a difficult situation that seemed unbearable. How did that get you to where you are today? Share your story below.