Parshas Tazria-Metzorah:
 By: Yaacov Silverstein
e@mail: hm16@popeye.cc.biu.ac.il
HomePage: http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~hm16/

This Dvar Torah was prepared in the merit and memory of my grandfather: Rav Yitzchak Zev Ben Yisroel Mordechai HaKohen Solomon

Parshas Tazriah-Metzorah:


"This is the law of the Metzorah on the day of his purification...".

Rav Chaim Shmulevitz brings down in his Sefer "Sichos Mussar", that there is a Gemarah (in Mesechet Nedarim 64:b)that teaches us, "there are four types of people who are considered dead in their present state, a pauper, a leper, a blind man, and one who is childless."

He goes into great depth explaining these four cases, and he comes to a conclusion about what is special with all these four cases.

The common denominator is that they all are crippled in their ability to relate to another person; to share in another's suffering; or to give and bestow kindness to another person.

They have a lack of the ability to create a building relationship with others, and they sort of all are "sitting outside the camp".

The only "true life" that is worth living for, is a life of sharing and giving to others.

When a person becomes a "Metzora" (leper), the factor that defines a person as "living", is removed from him. For now he is unable to give to others, for he is commanded "to sit alone, outside the camp".

One becomes a Metzorah because he spoke "Lashon Hara", negatively about others.

Rav Henach Leibowitz explains that this person used the gift of speech which was given to him in order for him to use it to help build relationship with others, and to help give to others, and instead used the same tool of speech and tore the fabric that binds people together.

One is supposed to use his gift of speech to help bring peace and harmony to the world, and not the opposite.

The Peddler:


The Midrash Rabbah brings the following story: (Vayikra Rabba 16:2)

"There was once a peddler who would go from city to city in the area of Tzipori, trying to sell his goods.

He would call-out to the onlookers, 'who wants the medicine that will bring you life?...'

Came along Rav Yani and asked the peddler about his goods for sale.

The peddler replied that Rav Yani didn't need this medicine.

Rav Yani still questioned this peddler about his goods.

Upon seeing that Rav Yani persisted, he took out a Tehilim and opened it to the Pasuk "Who is the person who wants life..."

He continued and said, 'And what is the continuation?'

"Keep your mouth away from speaking bad...".

Rav Yani than said to this simple looking peddler, 'All my life, I read this Pasuk and I didn't know how simple the meaning of the Pasuk was.'"

The Question:


What can we learn from such a story?

What did the peddler bring out to Rav Yani, that he didn't know before (What was the peddlers Chidush)?

What did Rav Yani mean by saying, "I didn't know that it was so simple"?

Why didn't Rav Yani need it?

The Answer:


Answers Rav Yitzchaz Bleizer, the word "Chaim"(life), is a general term.

It includes "happy life", "long life", "bitter life"...

As we said above, there are those whose life is bitter, and their life, is at times, considered as if they are dead.

This peddler that called-out this Pasuk in Tehilim, did not intend on the meaning "long life", rather "a good life".

This is the Chidush(point we can learn out), normally when one is asked, "Who wants life?", we would answer, obviously someone who doesn't want the opposite of life, death.

This peddler was not selling life, which is the opposite of death, rather "good life".

The Chidush of the peddler was that this Pasuk is not only talking about something which is the opposite of death, rather even more, life which one is truly alive.

The only true life that one can have, the only life that one can feel good about and be satisfied about ones achievements on this earth, is a life which one works on doing good to others, bringing out the good in others, this is a true life.

Chazal say, that Reshayim (evil people), even during their lifetime they are considered dead, rather like the Tzadikim that even in their death, they are considered living.

One is remembered by doing good deeds which builds things which last much longer after one dies.

The Peddler called out that he was selling life, Rav Yani who learned Torah all his life already acquired life, for Torah is life (Toras Chaim..).

The Torah protected him from doing and saying bad things.

What he was shocked about was that anyone can attain this true life, good life. This is so easy to obtain, just by watching what comes out of ones mouth and bringing peace between one and another, will bring one to feel enjoyment in ones life, and he will also obtain life in the "world to come".

This good life is available to all, for the peddler was selling it to all, not just to Rabbis.

Rav Yani was surprised how easy it really was for one to obtain life, all one had to do was to watch what comes out of his mouth.

The peddler was calling those who didn't yet acquire life.

Also, Rav Yani learned from this peddler, that one is not only required to watch over his mouth, rather one is also required to be like a peddler and sell his goods. One is supposed try to affect others to act nicely, and to bring peace between people.

Finally, even a Tzaddik who already acquired life in the next world, the true life, he can still acquire life in this world, and see good.

For even if one is so righteous that he doesn't want any wealth, still one likes to see his family satisfied and he also likes to have wealth to help support the less fortunate.

This is the explanation of the Pasuk:

"Who is the one who wants life?" - who is the one who wants life in Olam Haba.

"Ohev Yamim Lios Tov" - who also likes this world, not as much as the next world, but likes it that he could see good being done to others and help others out.

"Ntzor Lshoncha Meira..." - watch your mouth from speaking evil, and also even if others try to do bad to you, one still must try to act correctly with others. (Ksav Sofer)

Rebbi Akiva's students:


To end of, I would like to tie this into the days of Sefiras Ha-Omer.

Chazal tell us that the reason for the death of the 24,000 students of Rebbi Akiva during the Sefira time, is because they did not give honor to one another.

As we know, Hashem always gives punishment for a wrongdoing, measure for measure.

The Maharal writes that "when one gives respect to a friend, it is the essence of life."

The Maharal explains that when the students of Rebbi Akiva failed to give honor to one another, they diminished the lives of their fellow Talmidim, and thus they were punished by the loss of their own lives.(Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn).

We see from here that correcting ones behavior, and being like Aharon who was a lover of peace and even ran after chances to make peace, is a lifetime job, but its worth it, for it allocates for us a spot in the real world, the "world to come".

During Pesach we were all careful in what we allowed into our mouths.

Now, we just finished Pesach, let us watch what leaves our mouths.



There is a negative commandment that one should not tell anyone things that another person said against him.

The Chofetz Chaim, in his Sefer Hamitzvos HaKatzar, goes into great depth to explain this commandment.

We are commanded in the Torah, (Vayikra 19:16), that one should not go around as a tale-bearer among the Bnei Yisroel.

Even if one is saying the truth, it is very wrong, and it brings destruction to the world.

Worse than this is when someone says over to others evil gossip, even if it is true.

Even in cases where one is asked about advice for a Shidduch or for other important information, one still must be very careful how he responds.

For when it is time to give information about a potential spouse, one holds the lives of others in his hands.

Just one wrong word or phrase, can easily destroy what might have been a wonderful match, or one may paint a bad image of someone that will stick to that person for years.

However, we know that it is equally important to make sure that if it is really a bad match, those involved should know.

One must realize that the line dividing between the necessary information from speaking real Lashon Hara is very thin, with consequences of falling on the wrong side of it can be devastating.

(Taken from the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation)

(For more information on Lashon Hara prevention - http://www.chofetzchaim.com )