Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 

Parshas Metzora

By 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!


Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Dr. Nosson Chayim Leff and Torah.org.


 

ARTICLES ON PINCHAS AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Standing Up to the Prevailing Winds
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5758

One Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

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

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Darkest Corner
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Not So Simple, Not So Mundane
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

In Partnership With G-d
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

> Father Knows Best
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5762

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

In the Eye of the Beholder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

ArtScroll

Let Us Pray!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

Conditional Peace
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Human Sacrifice
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

In a Month We Call -“Av”
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Tzelafchad's Daughters Were Motivated By The Land, Not The Money
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Eliyahu Chai!
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Tikun Olam Plan C
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763



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