Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  LifeLine
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshios Tazria & Metzorah

Above the Animals

Much of this week's combined reading, of Tazria and Metzora, concerns the spiritual ailment known as 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 the Medrash, came upon a person as a result of Lashon Hora, evil gossip. Moshe's hand turned white 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.

Good Shabbos,

Rabbi Yaakov Menken


Text Copyright 2004 by Torah.org.

The author is the Director of Project Genesis - Torah.org.


 






ARTICLES ON NOACH:

View Complete List

Now -A Hopeful Place
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

What a Deal!
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

Of Showers, Towers, and False Powers
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5761

> People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Hashem's Promise
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5770

Joint Efforts
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Name of HASHEM
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Noah's Spiritual Leadership
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Noach - A 'Standard' Tzaddik
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

ArtScroll

Great Is Peace
- 5769

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Taking a Hint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

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

The Day Falsehood Married Destruction
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The Meaning of Noach
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

Parshas Noach
Shlomo Katz - 5772



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