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Tazria-Metzora תזריע-מצורע

April 21, 2023
By Hudson Lubow, Merritt Perlyn & Yotam Vinograd

It is a special week because we will be reading two parashiot. Tazria is about all the physical ailments that may make you impure and unable to enter into the Mishkan, and later, the Beit Hamikdash in Yerushalayim.

Today, we are not so concerned with being pure or impure, but
instead we do make sure that we are clean. For example, when
you go to a synagogue or a Shabbat dinner, you have to be clean, showered and wear nice clothes. It is a sign of respect. Another thing we can do to show respect at synagogue or Shabbat dinner is to not be distracted by things like using our phone - it is better to turn the phone off and clear your mind and be connected with Hashem.

The second parasha is Parashat Metzora.  It is about a skin disease called tzara’at that also makes you impure. Our rabbis tell us that this was a unique condition because you were inflicted with tzara’at because of bad behavior towards others. The word Metzora is a contraction of the words, mozti shem ra, which means one who spreads mean words or gossip about someone. The person who got tzara’at had to leave the camp in order to be by himself and realize the value of having other people around and how to treat others with kindness. When the person had done teshuva, the skin condition would wear off and he could return.

From this parsha we learn how seriously the Torah takes the sin of lashon hara, or talking evil speech and spreading gossip or rumors.

One time when I was playing basketball, a kid walked up to me and called me four-eyes because I wear glasses. I was very angry because he spoke lashon hara to me. It made me feel bad. I then promised myself never to speak Lashon hara to anybody because I know how it feels.

One time I was at basketball camp and there was this kid who had leg issues and people were making fun of him behind his back so I told them to stop and they did. I think they realized their mistake and apologized to the kid. I felt good about myself because I prevented people from speaking lashon hara.

One time I was at camp in Chicago and my friend Carter, who
was short, was getting made fun of. I got involved and told the kid to stop because it wasn’t nice. The kid told me that it was none of my business and told me to buzz-off. I told him that it was, in fact my business and that what he was doing was rude and uncalled for. I was taller than the kid and I told him to stop being rude and that he wouldn't like it if I had called him short. If someone taller than I am came up to me and called me short, I would not be happy. In the end I realized that you shouldn’t make fun of people because you would not feel good if you were in their shoes.

We learned from this parasha to never speak lashon hara.

Thank you and Shabbat Shalom!