Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Parshas Metzorah

Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff

Sfas Emes, Zechuso Tagein Aleinu, Parshas Metzora, 5631

Chazal tell us that tza'ra'as afflicts a person because of his/her anti-social behavior. Lashon ha'ra is the epitome of anti-social behavior. Hence, it comes as no surprise that Chazal see the metzora as a person who is 'motzi shem ra' -- who says bad things about people or institutions. Likewise, we can readily understand that as part of his punishment/rehabilitation process, a metzora must dwell outside the community, excluded from society. Before the metzora may reenter the community, he must undergo a procedure for kapara (atonement). This procedure includes bringing two birds to the Beis HaMikdash. The Sfas Emes quotes Rashi on the reason for bringing one bird. Birds chatter mindlessly. So, too, the metzora is being warned about the consequences of speaking mindlessly about people or institutions.

The Sfas Emes is bothered by a basic question. We can understand why the metzora brings one bird, which the kohein slaughters. Clearly, that bird is to atone for the person's mindless talk. But what is the message of the second bird, the one that is not slaughtered, but is set free?

The Sfas Emes answers by quoting a passage from the Zohar. That passage explains that scourges like tzara'as afflict a person because of "mila bisha; ve'ahl milin tavim ... ve'lo mileil". That is, one bird is to deal with the lashon hara that the person spoke. The second bird is to deal with the good things that he could have said but did not say. The Sfas Emes quotes a pasuk in Tehilim (39:3): "Hechesheisi mitov, uke'eivi ne'echar." (R' S. R. Hirsch: "I kept silent as regarded the good; my pain as all the more grievous because of [my silence]." What the Torah is teaching us with the second bird is the importance of saying good words when we encounter something positive.

My mother, a'h', taught English literature. She used to quote the following lines from a poem: "The word we had not sense to say, Who knows how grand it might have rung?"

B'H', people have developed a much heightened awareness about the evils of lashon hara. Now let's also try to do better with lishna tava, speaking well of others!


Copyright 2004 by Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON PINCHAS AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

A Judgement Call
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Temperament of a Kohen
Shlomo Katz - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Of Zealots and Eretz Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Peace Pursued
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5756

The Eye Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Much Louder Than Words
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

The Sword is Mightier than the Pen
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

No Little Things
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

> Enlightened Leader
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Rebuilding the Temple with Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Great Leaders
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

ArtScroll

Our Father, Our Light
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Moshe's Sales Pitch
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Kinah for Tisha BAv Revised
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Absolute Soul
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information