Creating New LifeMarch 24, 2014 - 5:00 am
“Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days . . . ’” — Leviticus 12:2
The Torah portion for this week is Tazria, which means “to conceive,” from Leviticus 12:1–13:59, and the Haftorah is from 2 Kings 4:42–5:19.
This week’s Torah reading begins with the subject of birth: “A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth . . . .” After the first birth in the Bible when Eve gave birth to Cain, she said: “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man” (Genesis 4:1). As Eve correctly expressed, the act of giving birth is the result of a partnership with God. Together, a woman, man, and God bring new life into the world. In fact, this is one reason why a woman entered a spiritual state known as tamei (being ceremonially unclean) after a baby was born; her holy partnership with God had come to an end – at least for the moment.
However, birthing new life into the world is not only for mothers. All people are constantly involved in creating and bringing new things into the world. Whether we realize it or not, we shape the world we live in with the words we speak and the ideas that we put forth on a daily basis. Some things that we create are good while others are less so. But here’s the thing: if you want to create something great and bring something beautiful into the world, you need to do it with God.
Just as a woman “partners” with God from the moment that she becomes pregnant until the moment of birth, we also have the opportunity to become partners with God in creation, whether it’s a specific project or a personal development goal. Whatever our intended creation, from the moment of conception until the moment of reception – when our idea becomes a reality – we need to partner with God at every step.
So what will you birth together with God? A new day? A new you? A whole new world? Like every pregnancy, there will be joy-filled moments and there will be painful and challenging ones as well. However, when God is our partner, we will be able to nourish and cultivate something wonderful and bring something beautiful into our world.