The purification of a person afflicted with tzara'at is a positive commandment and his shaving is also a positive commandment.

How is a person who had been afflicted by tzara'at purified? He should bring a new earthenware container - the Received Tradition teaches that it must be new. A fourth of a log of "living water" that is fit to be sanctified as water for the sprinkling of the ashes of the red heifer is placed in it. This measure is a Rabbinic institution.

Two sparrows that are kosher must be brought for the sake of purifying a tzara'at affliction, as Leviticus 14:4 states: "For the one who is to be purified will be taken...." He should slaughter the healthier of the two over the water in the earthenware vessel and squeeze out the blood until it is apparent over the water. He then digs a hole and buries the slaughtered bird in the presence of the afflicted person. This is one of the points received through the Oral Tradition.

He takes a cedar branch - the mitzvah is that it be a cubit long and a fourth the thickness of a bedpost. And he takes a hyssop whose name is not described by an additional term, as we explained, that is not less than a handbreadth long, and a crimson strand weighing a shekel. If one used the dye for another purpose, it is disqualified, as is the rule regarding dyeing wool with blue dye to use for tzitzit. All of these measures are laws transmitted to Moses at Sinai.

A priest takes the three items mentioned above together with the living fowl. All these four items are fundamental requirements. When the cedar branch and the hyssop have been peeled, they are invalid. The hyssop should be bound together with the cedar branch with the crimson thread. The tips of the wings and the tips of the tail of the living bird should be held close to them and the four should be dipped in the water in the container and the blood floating on top of it. He then sprinkles with them seven times on the back of the hand of the afflicted person and sends away the fowl.

How does he send the fowl away? He stands in the town and casts it outside the wall. He does not turn its head to the sea, to the town, or to the desert, as ibid.:53 states: "Outside the city, towards the field." If he sends it away and it returns, he should send it away again, even 100 times.

Afterwards, the priest shaves the afflicted person. How does he shave him? He passes a razor over all his skin that is visible including his underarms and pubic region until his entire flesh is smooth like a squash, as ibid.:9 states: "He shall shave all of his hair." If so, why does the verse mention his beard and his eye-brows? To include everything like them and to exclude the hair in the nose, because it is not visible.

Afterwards, he "launders" his garments, immerses himself, and becomes pure with regard to conveying impurity when he enters a building or to the article on which he lies or sits. He may enter within the town's wall. He counts seven days. During them, he is forbidden to engage in physical intimacy, as alluded to by ibid.:8: "outside his tent." This teaches that he is forbidden physical intimacy. A woman afflicted by tzara'at, by contrast, is permitted physical intimacy.


טָהֳרַת מְצֹרָע מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. וְתִגְלַחְתּוֹ כְּשֶׁיִּטְהַר מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. כֵּיצַד מְטַהֲרִין אֶת הַמְצֹרָע. מֵבִיא מִזְרָק שֶׁל חֶרֶשׂ חָדָשׁ וְקַבָּלָה הִיא שֶׁיִּהְיֶה [חָדָשׁ] וְנוֹתֵן לְתוֹכוֹ רְבִיעִית מַיִם חַיִּים הָרְאוּיִין לְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתָן מֵי חַטָּאת. וְשִׁעוּר זֶה מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. וּמֵבִיא שְׁתֵּי צִפֳּרִים דְּרוֹר טְהוֹרוֹת לְשֵׁם טָהֳרַת צָרַעַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד ד) "וְלָקַח לַמִּטַּהֵר". וְשׁוֹחֵט אֶת הַבְּרוּרָה שֶׁבִּשְׁתֵּיהֶן עַל הַמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי חֶרֶס וּמְמַצֶּה עַד שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הַדָּם נִכָּר בַּמַּיִם. וְחוֹפֵר וְקוֹבֵר הַצִּפּוֹר הַשְּׁחוּטָה בְּפָנָיו. וְדָבָר זֶה קַבָּלָה מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה. וְנוֹטֵל עֵץ אֶרֶז וּמִצְוָתוֹ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה אָרְכּוֹ אַמָּה וְעָבְיוֹ כִּרְבִיעַ כֶּרַע מִכִּרְעֵי הַמִּטָּה. וְאֵזוֹב שֶׁאֵין לוֹ שֵׁם לְוַוי כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ. אֵין פָּחוּת מִטֶּפַח. וּשְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת מִשְׁקָלוֹ שֶׁקֶל. וְאִם טִעֲמוֹ פְּסָלוֹ כִּצְבִיעַת הַתְּכֵלֶת. וְכָל הַשִּׁעוּרִים הֲלָכָה. וְלוֹקֵחַ עִם שְׁלָשְׁתָּן הַצִּפּוֹר הַחַיָּה. וְאַרְבָּעָה מִינִין אֵלּוּ מְעַכְּבִין זֶה אֶת זֶה. וְעֵץ אֶרֶז וְאֵזוֹב שֶׁנִּתְקַלְּפוּ פְּסוּלִין. וְכוֹרֵךְ הָאֵזוֹב עִם הָאֶרֶז בְּלָשׁוֹן שֶׁל זְהוֹרִית וּמַקִּיף לָהֶן רָאשֵׁי אֲגַפַּיִים וְרֹאשׁ הַזָּנָב שֶׁל צִפּוֹר הַחַיָּה. וְטוֹבֵל אַרְבַּעְתָּן בַּמַּיִם שֶׁבַּכְּלִי וּבַדָּם שֶׁעֲלֵיהֶן. וּמַזֶּה שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים עַל אַחַר יָדוֹ שֶׁל מְצֹרָע וּמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת הַצִּפּוֹר. וכֵּיצַד מְשַׁלְּחָהּ. עוֹמֵד בָּעִיר וְזוֹרְקָהּ חוּץ לַחוֹמָה. וְאֵינוֹ הוֹפֵךְ פָּנָיו לֹא לַיָּם וְלֹא לָעִיר וְלֹא לַמִּדְבָּר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד נג) "מִחוּץ לָעִיר אֶל פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה". שְׁלָחָהּ וְחָזְרָה חוֹזֵר וּמְשַׁלְּחָהּ אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה פְּעָמִים. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְגַלֵּחַ הַכֹּהֵן אֶת הַמְצֹרָע. כֵּיצַד מְגַלְּחוֹ. מַעֲבִיר תַּעַר עַל כָּל בְּשָׂרוֹ הַנִּרְאֶה אֲפִלּוּ בֵּית הַשֶּׁחִי וּבֵית הָעֶרְוָה שֵׂעָר שֶׁעַל כָּל הַגּוּף עַד שֶׁיֵּעָשֶׂה כִּדְלַעַת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד ח) "אֶת כָּל שְׂעָרוֹ". אִם כֵּן לָמָּה נֶאֱמַר (ויקרא יד ט) "רֹאשׁוֹ" (ויקרא יד ט) "וּזְקָנוֹ" (ויקרא יד ט) "וְגַבּוֹת עֵינָיו" לְרַבּוֹת כָּל כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן וּלְמַעֵט שֵׂעָר שֶׁבְּתוֹךְ הַחֹטֶם לְפִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ נִרְאֶה. וְאַחַר כָּךְ מְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטוֹבֵל וְיִטְהַר מִלְּטַמֵּא בְּבִיאָה וּמִלְּטַמֵּא מִשְׁכָּב וּמוֹשָׁב. וְיִכָּנֵס לְפָנִים מִן הַחוֹמָה וּמוֹנֶה שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְאָסוּר בָּהֶן בְּתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד ח) "מִחוּץ לְאָהֳלוֹ" מְלַמֵּד שֶׁאָסוּר בְּתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה. וְהַמְצֹרַעַת מֻתֶּרֶת בְּתַשְׁמִישׁ הַמִּטָּה:


For the duration of these seven days, he is still considered as a primary source of impurity and imparts impurity to people and to utensils when touching them, but not when being carried by them. This is indicated by Leviticus 14:9 which states: "And it shall be on the seventh day,... he shall launder his garments...." This teaches that before then, he imparted impurity to his garments. Just as he would impart impurity to his garments by touching them, so too, he would impart impurity to a person when touching him, for any source of impurity that imparts impurity to garments, imparts impurity to humans.

On the seventh day, the priest shaves him a second time like the first. He "launders" and immerses himself, thus becoming pure with regard to imparting impurity to others. He is like all those who immersed and will become pure in the evening. He may partake of the second tithe. After nightfall, he may partake of terumah. Once he brings his atonement offerings, he may partake of sacrificial foods, as we explained.


כָּל שִׁבְעַת הַיָּמִים הָאֵלּוּ עֲדַיִן הוּא אַב הַטֻּמְאָה מְטַמֵּא אָדָם וְכֵלִים בְּמַגָּע לֹא בְּמַשָּׂא שֶׁהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (ויקרא יד ט) "וְהָיָה בַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי" (ויקרא יד ט) "וְכִבֶּס אֶת בְּגָדָיו" וְגוֹ' מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיָה מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהָיָה מְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים בְּמַגָּע כָּךְ מְטַמֵּא אָדָם בְּמַגָּע שֶׁכָּל הַמְטַמֵּא בְּגָדִים מְטַמֵּא אָדָם. וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְגַלְּחוֹ הַכֹּהֵן תִּגְלַחַת שְׁנִיָּה כָּרִאשׁוֹנָה וּמְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְטוֹבֵל וְיִטְהַר מִלְּטַמֵּא אֲחֵרִים. וַהֲרֵי הוּא כְּכָל טְבוּלֵי יוֹם וְאוֹכֵל בְּמַעֲשֵׂר. הֶעֱרִיב שִׁמְשׁוֹ אוֹכֵל בִּתְרוּמָה. הֵבִיא כַּפָּרָתוֹ אוֹכֵל בְּקָדָשִׁים כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


When he shaves these two times, he must shave only with a razor. If he shaves with something other than a razor or left two hairs, his actions are of no consequence. The shavings should be performed only by a priest. If he left two hairs in the first shaving and shaved them off in the second shaving, he is considered to have performed only one shaving.

The entire day is acceptable for the shaving of a person afflicted by tzara'at.


כְּשֶׁהוּא מְגַלֵּחַ בִּשְׁתֵּי הַתִּגְלָחוֹת אֵינוֹ מְגַלֵּחַ אֶלָּא בְּתַעַר. וְאִם גִּלֵּחַ שֶׁלֹּא בְּתַעַר אוֹ שֶׁהִנִּיחַ שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם. וְאֵינוֹ מְגַלְּחוֹ אֶלָּא כֹּהֵן. וְאִם שִׁיֵּר שְׁתֵּי שְׂעָרוֹת בְּתִגְלַחַת רִאשׁוֹנָה וְגִלְּחָן בַּשְּׁנִיָּה לֹא עָלְתָה לוֹ אֶלָּא תִּגְלַחַת אַחַת בִּלְבַד וַהֲרֵי הִיא רִאשׁוֹנָה. וְכָל הַיּוֹם כָּשֵׁר לְטָהֳרַת הַמְצֹרָע:


The shaving of a person afflicted by tzara'at, his immersion, and sprinkling the blood of the slaughtered bird upon him are not dependent on each other. Each of the other actions involved in his purification are dependent on each other.


תִּגְלַחַת הַמְצֹרָע וּטְבִילָתוֹ וְהַזָּאָתוֹ אֵינָן מְעַכְּבוֹת זוֹ אֶת זוֹ. וּשְׁאָר כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו מְעַכְּבִים:


The slaughter of the fowl, the shaving, and the sprinkling of the blood must be performed during the day. The remainder of the actions may be performed either during the day or at night. The above three must be performed by males. The remainder may be performed by men or by women. The above three must be performed by priests. The remainder may be performed by priests or Israelites.


שְׁחִיטַת הַצִּפּוֹר וְהַתִּגְלַחַת וְהַהַזָּיָה בַּיּוֹם וּשְׁאָר כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו בֵּין בַּיּוֹם בֵּין בַּלַּיְלָה. אֵלּוּ בַּאֲנָשִׁים וּשְׁאָר כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו בֵּין בַּאֲנָשִׁים בֵּין בְּנָשִׁים. אֵלּוּ בְּכֹהֲנִים וּשְׁאָר כָּל מַעֲשָׂיו בֵּין בְּכֹהֲנִים בֵּין בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


The purification of a person afflicted by tzara'at is carried out in Eretz Yisrael and in the Diaspora, while the Temple is standing and in the era when the Temple is not standing.

It is a mitzvah for the priest who deemed the person impure to perform his purification as indicated by Leviticus 13:59 which states: "to purify him or deem him impure."

Every one is acceptable to perform the purification of a person afflicted by tzara'at, even a zav or one who is impure due to contact with a corpse may perform this purification. One person afflicted with tzara'at may not perform the purification for another. Two people afflicted with tzara'at should not be purified at the same time, for mitzvot should not be performed in bundles.


טָהֳרַת מְצֹרָע זוֹ נוֹהֶגֶת בָּאָרֶץ וּבְחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת וְשֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי הַבַּיִת. וְכֹהֵן שֶׁטִּמְּאוֹ מִצְוָה לְטַהֲרוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יג נט) "לְטַהֲרוֹ אוֹ לְטַמְּאוֹ". וְהַכּל כְּשֵׁרִין לְטַהֵר אֶת הַמְצֹרָע אֲפִלּוּ זָב וַאֲפִלּוּ טְמֵא מֵת. וְאֵין מְצֹרָע מְטַהֵר מְצֹרָע. וְאֵין מְטַהֲרִין שְׁנֵי מְצֹרָעִין כְּאַחַת שֶׁאֵין עוֹשִׂין מִצְוֹת חֲבִילוֹת:


The cedar branch, the hyssop, and the scarlet cord that were used to purify one person afflicted with tzara'at may be used to purify others. Similarly, it is permitted to use a fowl that was sent away to purify other people afflicted with tzara'at and it is permitted to be eaten. It is, however, forbidden to benefit from the fowl that was slaughtered. From when is it forbidden? From the time that it was slaughtered.

When it was slaughtered, but there was no hyssop, cedar branch, or scarlet cord, it is nevertheless, forbidden to benefit from the slaughtered fowl. The rationale is that slaughter which is not befitting is still considered as slaughter. A person who partakes of an olive-sized portion of the slaughtered fowl violates a positive commandment and a negative commandment. For Deuteronomy 14:12 states: "These are what you may not eat from them." According to the Oral Tradition, it was taught that the wording also includes the fowl that was slaughtered in this purification process. And it is written ibid.:11: "You shall eat all pure fowl." This is a positive commandment. From it, however, one can infer a prohibition: that other species may not be eaten. When a prohibition is derived from a positive commandment, it is considered as a positive commandment.


עֵץ אֶרֶז וְאֵזוֹב וּשְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת שֶׁטָּהַר בָּהֶן מְצֹרָע זֶה מְטַהֵר בָּהֶן מְצֹרָעִים אֲחֵרִים. וְכֵן צִפּוֹר הַמִּשְׁתַּלַּחַת מֻתָּר לְטַהֵר בָּהּ מְצֹרָעִים אֲחֵרִים מֵאַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁתַּלְּחָה וּמֻתֶּרֶת בַּאֲכִילָה. אֲבָל הַצִּפּוֹר הַשְּׁחוּטָה אֲסוּרָה בַּהֲנָאָה. וּמֵאֵימָתַי תֵּאָסֵר, מִשְּׁעַת שְׁחִיטָתָהּ. שְׁחָטָהּ וְאֵין שָׁם אֵזוֹב וְלֹא עֵץ אֶרֶז וְלֹא שְׁנִי תּוֹלַעַת הֲרֵי זוֹ אֲסוּרָה בַּהֲנָאָה שֶׁשְּׁחִיטָה שֶׁאֵינָהּ רְאוּיָה שְׁמָהּ שְׁחִיטָה. וְהָאוֹכֵל כְּזַיִת מִצִּפּוֹר הַשְּׁחוּטָה עָבַר עַל עֲשֵׂה וְעַל לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יד יב) "וְזֶה אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מֵהֶם" מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ שֶׁזֶּה לְרַבּוֹת הַצִּפּוֹר הַשְּׁחוּטָה. וְנֶאֱמַר (דברים יד יא) "טְהֹרָה תֹּאכֵלוּ" הָא אַחֶרֶת לֹא תֹּאכְלוּ וְלָאו הַבָּא מִכְּלַל עֲשֵׂה עֲשֵׂה:


The two fowl may not be taken from the fowl of a condemned city, nor from fowl exchanged for idols, nor from fowl that killed a person. The optimum way of performing the mitzvah is for the two fowl to be alike in appearance, size, and value, and to be purchased at the same time. Nevertheless, even if they are not alike, or one purchased one on one day and the other on the next, it is acceptable.

If one purchased two fowl for the sake of the purification of a man, it is acceptable to use them for the purification of a woman. Conversely, two purchased for the purification of a woman are acceptable to be used for the purification of a man. If they were taken to purify an afflicted house, they are acceptable to be used for purifying a person. If they were taken to purify a person, they are acceptable to be used for purifying an afflicted house. These concepts may be inferred from Leviticus 14:4 which states: "For the one who is to be purified will be taken...."


אֵין לוֹקְחִין שְׁתֵּי הַצִּפֳּרִים מִצִּפֳּרֵי עִיר הַנִּדַּחַת וְלֹא מִצִּפֳּרִים שֶׁהֶחְלִיפָן בַּעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה וְלֹא מִצִּפֳּרִים שֶׁהָרְגוּ אֶת הַנֶּפֶשׁ. וּמִצְוָתָן שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁתֵּיהֶן שָׁווֹת בְּמַרְאֶה בְּקוֹמָה וּבְדָמִים וּלְקִיחָתָן כְּאַחַת. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָן שָׁווֹת אוֹ שֶׁלָּקַח אַחַת הַיּוֹם וְאַחַת לְמָחָר כְּשֵׁרוֹת. לָקַח שְׁתֵּי הַצִּפֳּרִים לְשֵׁם אִישׁ כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְטַהֵר בָּהֶן אִשָּׁה. לְשֵׁם אִשָּׁה כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְטַהֵר בָּהֶן אִישׁ. לְטַהֵר בָּהֶן בַּיִת מְנֻגָּע כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְטַהֵר אָדָם. לְקָחָן לְאָדָם כְּשֵׁרוֹת לְבַיִת מְנֻגָּע שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא יד ד) "וְלָקַח לַמִּטַּהֵר":


If one of them was slaughtered and discovered not to be a sparrow, another one should be taken for the second. It is permitted to partake of the one that was slaughtered. If one of them was slaughtered and discovered to be tereifah, another one should be taken for the second. It is permitted to benefit from the one that was slaughtered.


שָׁחַט אַחַת מֵהֶן וְנִמְצֵאת שֶׁלֹּא הָיְתָה דְּרוֹר יִקַּח זוּג לַשְּׁנִיָּה וְהָרִאשׁוֹנָה מֻתֶּרֶת בַּאֲכִילָה. שָׁחַט הָאַחַת וְנִמְצֵאת טְרֵפָה יִקַּח זוּג לַשְּׁנִיָּה וְהָרִאשׁוֹנָה מֻתֶּרֶת בַּהֲנָאָה:


If the blood was spilled, the fowl that would have been sent away is left until it dies. If the fowl to be sent away dies before the sprinkling, the blood is poured out and two other fowl are taken.


נִשְׁפַּךְ הַדָּם מַנִּיחִין אֶת הַמִּשְׁתַּלַּחַת עַד שֶׁתָּמוּת. מֵתָה הַמִּשְׁתַּלַּחַת יִשָּׁפֵךְ הַדָּם וְיִקַּח שְׁתַּיִם אֲחֵרוֹת: