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 BESHALACH AND TU BESHVAT:

View Complete List

Split-Sea Soup
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

Like a GPS
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

A Good Night's Sleep
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5760

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Heart of the Matter
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5759

Questions to Ponder
Rabbi Jeff Kirshblum - 5764

Moments of Inspiration
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

A Clean Break
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Lessons in Appreciation
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5763

Of Seeds and Growth
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5766

> Mon or Man?
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

Appreciation in Times of Pain
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

As the Season Turns
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

ArtScroll

Complaining About The Quality Of The Miracle
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5766

Putting Pizazz Into Our Mitzvos
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5763

We Pay for Everything
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

Reaching Out
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 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