Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Tazria

The Real You

By Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig

"If a person will have upon his skin of his flesh...a tzara'as affliction...he shall be brought to Aaron the Kohen (priest) or one of his sons the Kohanim" (Vayikra/Leviticus 13:2) Our Sages explain that of the different manifestations of the tzara'as affliction, the form that attacked the body was the result of improper speech. If a person slandered someone else or did not fulfill a sworn oath, he was stricken with tzara'as sores. Of all of the external and internal sicknesses existent in G-d's creation, why did He choose a disease similar in appearance to leprosy as the punishment befitting one who errs with his speech?

The Torah testifies to Adam's creation as, "And G-d the L-rd formed the man of dust from the ground and he blew into his nostrils the soul of life and the man became a living soul." (Beraishis/Genesis 2:7) Targum Onkelos (authoritative Aramaic interpretive translation by the Tannaic-era proselyte Onkelos, c.90) elucidates that the "living soul" of Adam was the spirit of speech. Thus, the Torah illuminates that the essence of the soul, the essence of the human, the attribute that elevates man over the entirety of the animal kingdom as the power of decisive, intelligent speech. The Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 99b) expands this concept by stating that the entire purpose of the birth of mankind is the righteous use of his speech.

Rabbi Yitzchok Goldwasser, in his work Be'eros Yitzchok, clarifies that a person who is frivolous with his speech indicates that he does not appreciate his elevated status above the rest of the animals of creation. He is not focusing on his spiritual self and using speech to elevate his soul to its fullest potential. The purpose of tzara'as was to have the bearer become disgusted by his own physical appearance. While in such an unappealing physical state, the afflicted will comfort himself with the knowledge that the physical body is merely the "clothing" adorning the real person - the soul - within. That soul that defines the person remains unblemished by the sores of tzara'as; it is only affected by the holiness present in (or absent from) his words and deeds. With this renewed consciousness and reorganization of priorities, the bearer will then shift his focus away from the vanities of the material world and strive to maximize his spiritual potential by using his speech - indeed, all of his G-d given resources and talents - properly.

Have a Good Shabbos!


Copyright © 2003 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Project Genesis, Inc.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of the Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; 414-447-7999

 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Making Something of Nothing
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5764

Can You Enjoy While Others Lack?
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Dissections and Connections
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

ArtScroll

Maybe
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Beshegam Hu Moshe?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Looking for a Chavrusah?

In a Heartbeat
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

The Rainmaker
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759

Did The Animals Come Or Did Noach Have To Bring Them?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5773

> The Choosing People
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Not Better or Worse, Just Different
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5756

Before It Rains
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

People In Stone Houses Should Not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

People In Stone Houses Should not Cast Bricks
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Taking a Hint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771



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