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Metzora 5769

Tazria-Metzora (Leviticus 12-15 )

by Kalman Packouz

GOOD MORNING! Until I was 22 years old and started to learn in a yeshiva, I always thought that there were only 10 Commandments. I was surprised to find out that there are actually 613 commandments in the Torah. There are 248 positive commandments and 365 negative commandments (prohibitions).

There are some mitzvot (commandments) in which we are obligated once a year (i.e. blowing the shofar on Rosh Hashanah), mitzvot which are once a week (Shabbat) and mitzvot which are daily (prayer). There are also six mitzvot in which we are obligated every moment of the day.

In Hebrew, these are called The Six Mitzvot Temidiot - The Six Constant Mitzvot. If you would like to know more about the 613 commandments and the Six Constant Commandments, I highly recommend that you read the Aish Foundation Series in Spirituality - - for depth and breadth. If you prefer a book, read Sefer HaChinuch (The Book of Education), Feldheim Publishers, available in English from your local Jewish book store, or by calling toll-free 877-758-3242.

While you are waiting in lines or waiting for an appointment, the Six Constant Commandments give you something to think about! After each mitzvah is its source in the Torah and its number in the Sefer HaChinuch.


I. Know There is a God (Exodus 20:2) #25

1. He is the Creator, Sustainer and Supervisor of the Universe.
2. He created the world from nothing and it is all for our pleasure.
3. He sustains the world - it is constantly dependent on His will.
4. He supervises the world; there are no accidents. Everything is meaningful.

II. Don't Believe in Any Other "gods" (Exodus 20:3) #26

1. There are no other powers other than God; it is futile to rely upon any other power.
2. Saying "I can't" is a form of idol worship. (If God would help you, could you?)

III. Know That God is One (Deuteronomy 6:4) #417

1. He transcends time and space.
2. He has no components.
3. He is totally unique.
4. There is one Source for everything that happens.

IV. Love God (Deuteronomy 6:5) #418

1. God is the greatest pleasure a person can have.
2. You're longing for it.
3. This is all that you ever wanted, want, or will want.

V. Fear God (Deuteronomy 10:20) #432

1. There are consequences for your actions - the choice is yours - the reward is great.
2. Stand in awe of the Almighty and His Creation.

VI. Do Not Follow After Your Desires (Numbers 15:29) #387

Stay focused on your goal; don't be distracted by your desires.

For more on "613 Mitzvot" go to!

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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.

There are two types of speech transgressions: (1) Loshon Hora (literally "evil tongue")- making a derogatory or damaging statement about someone even though you are speaking the truth. (2) Rechilus (literally "tale bearing") - telling someone the negative things another person said about him or did against him. Check out for daily lessons in Shmirat HaLoshon, proper speech - or ask at your local Jewish bookstore, or call toll-free to 877-758-3242 for books and tapes! Also, go to for "The 10 Rules of Loshon Hora."

The second Torah Portion, Metzora, 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.

* * *

Dvar Torah
based on Love Your Neighbor by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states:

"And God spoke to Moshe and Aharon saying, 'When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, or a scab, or a bright spot and it becomes in the skin of his flesh the plague of tzora'as, then he shall be brought to Aharon the priest or unto one of his sons the priests'" (Leviticus 13:1-2).

What is the significance and meaning of these different types of tzora'as?

The Chasan Sofer comments that the different types of tzora'as are illustrative of reasons why people might speak against others:

1) Sais (a rising): A person might speak against others to raise his own stature.

2) Sapachas (a scab): A person might join (sipuach) a group of people who speak against others. In ordinary circumstances, he would not speak loshon hora, but to be sociable or to fit in, he would.

3) Baheres (a bright spot): A person might have done something against someone else, and in an attempt to exonerate himself, he speaks against that person. He clarifies (bahir) the reason for his behavior. If one is aware of the motivation for his speaking loshon hora, he can work on correcting himself.

The Chofetz Chaim, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, points out that from the severity of the tumah (spiritual uncleanliness) of the metzora (the person afflicted with tzora'as), we have an indication of the severity of loshon hora. This is the only type of tumah in which the person is required to stay entirely out of the camp or city where other people live.

If one is careful not to speak negatively about others, he may never have to whisper again!

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Give your children these two things:
one is roots, the other, wings.

Mazal Tov to

Eli & Chana Lebovics

upon birth of a son

In Loving Memory of

Binyomin Yitzhak ben Meyer

Elaine, Sarah & Marc Ross
& Family

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Kalman Packouz

Click here for Rabbi Packouz's bio
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Copyright Rabbi Kalman Packouz 2008

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