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 MIKETZ AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Passive Action
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763

Under the Radar
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5767

What A Pity!
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

> Don't Be Jealous!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Lessons in Devotion
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Stuck on Gum
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

Non Negotiable Part III
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

A Killing Prayer
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

ArtScroll

Mercy Filling
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5763

Unsolicited Advice
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Into the Hands of the Few
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5763

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

8 - The Symbol of Eternity
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Non Negotiable Part II
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Lighting Up the Streets
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 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