Friday Candle Lighting: 7:08 PM
Shabbat Ends: 8:06 PM
“This is the law of the metzora.” (14:2)
Two causes of the spiritual affliction called tzara’at were gossip and slander. The Torah considers these sins very grave. Habitual gossip and slander are equivalent to the three cardinal sins of idol worship, murder and adultery. Someone who habituates himself to this kind of speech forfeits his place in the future world. (Erchin 15b)
Primarily, we are physical creatures. At best, our soul is a lodger in the house of the body. We find spiritual concepts abstruse and difficult to grasp. A blood-strewn battlefield makes more of an impression on us than the silent holocaust of character assassination.
For this reason, the metzora is brought to the kohen. This person, who was so cavalier with his words, who did not understand the power of speech, stands in front of the kohen, and with one word the kohen decides his fate: “Tahor “or “Tamei.” He is pronounced as being either “Pure” or “Impure.” Just one word can return him to the society of man, and just one word can banish him to solitude and ostracism.
“For behold, He forms mountains and creates winds; He recounts to a person his conversation.” (Amos 4:13)
Ostensibly, the first half of this verse has little to do with the second. However, the prophet is answering the question, “Of what importance is a word? Words have no substance.”
“…behold, He forms mountains…”
G-d created lofty mountains, vast expanses of impervious rock. “…And creates winds…” — and yet the wind, which has no substance, wears them down to an anthill. “He recounts to a person his conversation.” This fact should remind us that even though our words are as formless as the wind, they have the power to reduce great worlds to nothing.
- Sources: Dubner Magid and Mayana shel Torah in Iturei Torah