(Torah Portion Metzora) Lessons for the Week
The Parshas of this week and last, deal primarily with tzaraas – colored patches on one’s home, clothing or body – which were spiritual signs that the sin of Lashon Harah – speaking ill of others – was transgressed. The Medrash points out that when these laws are stated we find the word ‘Torah’ mentioned five times. This teaches us that when one speaks negatively about his fellow, it is as if he has transgressed all five books of the Torah!
There is a question raised. Although the Torah is divided into five books, it is still one unit. Why when one speaks Lashon Harah is it as if he transgressed each of the books of the Torah? I came across the following explanation: In each book of the Torah we find a reference or an illustration of Lashon Harah.
In the Book of Genesis, the serpent spoke Lashon Harah about the Almighty to Chavah – Eve.
In the Book of Exodus, the Torah relates that while G-d was trying to convince Moshe to lead the Jews out of Egypt, Moshe spoke Lashon Harah about the Jewish People. In fact, one of the wonders that G-d performed for Moshe was that his hand turned white with Tzaraas, which one becomes infected with for speaking Lashon Harah.
In the Book of Leviticus the Torah warns us of the laws of Lashon Harah.
In the Book of Numbers, the Torah mentions the incident where Miriam spoke Lashon Harah about her brother Moshe.
In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Torah tells us to remember how the nation’s journey in the desert was suspended for seven days while Miriam went through the seven day purification process after contracting Tzaraas for speaking Lashon Harah.
The Medrash is conveying to us that Lashan Harah is distasteful and offensive because one who transgresses has essentially ignored the repeated warning that is listed in each of the five books of the Torah.
A tribute to Mr. Harold Sprung A’h
A couple of years ago I came across the following letter to the editor:
A Life Lesson:
Dear Editor: Last week, on a very busy morning at approximately 8:30 a.m., an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 a.m. I took his vital signs and evaluated his wound. While removing his sutures and redressing his wound, we began to engage in conversation.
Since he was in such a hurry, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning. The gentleman told me no; he said that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife.
I then inquired about her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she had Alzheimer’s. As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, and that she had not recognized him for five years.
I was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled and patted my hand and said, “She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is!”
I had to hold back tears as he left. I had goose bumps on my arm. I thought, “That is the kind of love I want in my life.”
True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. Peace is seeing the sunset and knowing who to thank.
Dr. Issac Abramson
I was moved when I read this and immediately reflected upon the similar type of relationship that Harold displayed for his wife Reva throughout the years of her illness.
The next morning in Shul, I shared the letter with Harold and told him that I felt it described his beautiful relationship with Reva.
He read it and in his inimitable jovial demeanor, gave me his classical, “don’t make a big deal over me” – yet appreciative nod.
May he rest in peace.
Wishing you a most restful, uplifting, peaceful
and inspirational Shabbos!
Rabbi Dovid Saks