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 TAZRIA AND METZORAH:

View Complete List

Talking About Redemption . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Parshios Tazria-Metzorah
Shlomo Katz - 5770

Sounds of Solitude
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

ArtScroll

Picking Up the Messages
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

To Not Get It
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

The Flowering of Redemption
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

> Children
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Humanity in Speech
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

To Continue to Continue
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Looking for a Chavrusah?

All Together
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Doves and Relationships
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5762

Down & Out: Down & Up
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Power of Birth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

A Plague on your House
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5765

Punishment: Hidden Treasure?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Don't Gossip, Learn Torah!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760



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