Metzora (Leviticus 14-15 )
GOOD MORNING! Would you like to have better relationships, create peace and make a better world? The place to start is by elevating your speech - not just refraining from crass words, but also refraining from speaking negatively about others. Loshon Hora is the Hebrew term for speech that causes pain or harm to others. It literally translates as "evil speech" and while it has its own specific definition, it is used as a catch-all for all categories of negative speech. The Sages tell us that Loshon Hora kills 3 people: the one who says it, the one who hears it and the one who it is spoken about.
There are three main categories: 1) Loshon Hora - where what is spoken is negative, though true. 2) Motzie Shem Ra - Slander -where what is spoken is negative and false. 3) Rechilus - Tale Bearing - telling people what others have said about them.
One of the shining lights of our heritage is that we actually have laws governing how and when one may relate negative speech. No namby-pamby cliches of "Be nice" but guidelines. I highly suggest The Chofetz Chaim: Daily Companion or Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's classic Guard Your Tongue, available at your local Jewish bookstore, at JudaicaEnterprises.com or by calling toll-free to 877-758-3242.
For more on "Loshon Hora" go to ShabbatShalomAudio.com!
Torah Portion of the Week
The Torah continues with the laws of physical and spiritual purity. The focus of this portion is upon tzora'as, a supernatural physical affliction sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking badly about others. The disease progressively afflicted home, clothes and then one's skin - unless the individual corrected his ways and followed the purification process stated in the Torah.
This week's portion continues with the purification process for the metzora, the person afflicted with tzora'as and then the home afflicted with tzora'as. The portion ends with the purification process for discharges from the flesh.
* * *
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And the priest shall command to take for him who is to be purified two birds alive and pure, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop." (Leviticus 14:4)
What lessons about life do we learn from these?
Rashi, the great commentator, cites the Sages that the cedar symbolizes arrogance (a cedar tree is tall and "haughty"). Tzora'as comes from arrogance and the contempt for others which allows him to talk negatively about others.
The Chofetz Chaim commented that someone who speaks against others views himself as above other people and therefore feels that he has a right to say negative things about them. If he were aware of his own faults and limitations, he would not seek out the faults of others.
What is the cure? He should work on humility, which is symbolized by the scarlet that is made from a lowly worm and the use of hyssop which is a small, low bush. (The two live chirping birds are symbolic of the chatter of idle gossip.)
Our lesson: Be aware of one's own faults and limitations rather than focusing on the faults of others.
CANDLE LIGHTING - April 8
(or go to http://www.aish.com/sh/c/)
Guatemala 5:57 - Hong Kong 6:22 - Honolulu 6:30
J'Burg 5:40 - London 7:27 - Los Angeles 7:01
Melbourne 5:46 - Mexico City 7:34 - Miami 7:22
New York 7:09 - Singapore 6:53 - Toronto 7:34
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.
-- Bertrand Russell
wishes you joy, peace, health,
(certified Kosher OU-P for Pesach)