Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Tazaria

by Rabbi Yaakov Menken

The majority of this Parsha - like the beginning of the next - concerns the laws of "Tzara'as." Tzara'as is often translated as leprosy, but the two illnesses could not be further apart. Tzara'as was treated not by doctors, but by analysis by the Kohen (Priest)... and someone who was so thoroughly afflicted that his or her entire body turned white, was pure.

Tzara'as, we learn from our Sages, came upon a person as a result of Lashon Hora, evil gossip. Moshe's hand turned leprous when he claimed that the Nation of Israel would not believe or follow him, and Miriam caught Tzara'as when she spoke about Moshe. So too, this evil came upon any Jew who spoke evil of his or her neighbor.

Tzara'as was an entirely spiritual ailment - just as loshon hora, gossip, causes intangible harm rather than physical. The spiritual nature of gossip is actually that which makes it such a great transgression, worthy of a special and unique punishment.

This was explained by the Rosh Yeshiva (Dean) of "Lakewood in Israel", Rabbi Yaakov Eliezer Schwartzmann. What advantage do humans have over animals? The answer is, our intellects. Scientists may have proven that gorillas can communicate - but not that they discuss philosophy! For us, communication provides worldly expression of our intellects.

Thus the person who gossips takes the most spiritual element of his or her physical existence... and uses it for evil. This is the great evil of gossip, because we use an inherently spiritual trait to cause harm beyond what mere sticks and stones could ever do.


Text Copyright © 1995 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis.


 






ARTICLES ON REEH:

View Complete List

Even Closer to HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Walk Behind Me
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Let's Stick Together
Shlomo Katz - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

To Hear Or To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

Who Do You Trust?
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5766

Don't Give It Personally
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

There Must Be an Anochi in Here Somewhere!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Seeing is Believing
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

Concentrate!
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

> A Blessed Adventure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Having a Few Pairs of Glasses
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

The Value of Pricelessness
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

ArtScroll

Every Soldier Has His Own Job
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5761

Beis Ha-Mikdash--Taking Things Personally
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Soldiers or Do-Gooders?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Fall - and get back up!
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773



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