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Torah Portion

Home > Torah Portion > Dvar for Shemini

Dvar for Tzaria
by Shlomo Ressler

Welcome to the short, practical Weekly Dvar (this week covering the first of 2 Parshiot). Since there are 49 days between Pesach and Shavuot, I think it's only proper that we each think of one person to refer to this Dvar list for every one of those 49 days. The goal is to always grow, right? The other way to "grow" is to write back with questions or comments, and those are always welcome too. Enjoy...

In this week's Parsha, Tazria, we're told about the discoloration (leprosy) that occurs when people, and sometimes even their property, get for speaking negatively about others (Lashon Hara). One interesting rule, however, is that even if it's blatantly obvious that one has leprosy, the laws pertaining to it do not apply until the Cohen (priest) declares it impure. Why would we need an 'official' to see and declare it if it's obvious what it is? Also, the Torah says that leprosy that's partially healed is considered as if it's clean (13:6). Why would a partial healing be adequate if there's still discoloration?

But if we think about it, we can discover a great lesson from the Torah... the concept of having someone to go to for guidance! As Rabbi Twerski explains, showing your flaws to a Cohen should help you want to change them, because of the embarrassment. Another advantage is that if we have challenges that are hard for us to overcome, it would help if we talked to someone who might be able to guide us. In this case the expert was a Cohen, but if a suit of ours got dirty we would take it to professionals to clean, and we may even point out the stains. By the same token, we should treat our souls the same when cleansing ourselves of bad habits (both Halachic and personal), and a Rabbi happens to be the expert in the Biblical field. And a partial healing is enough to purify the stain because it shows that there was effort to change! The lesson of the Cohen and the leprosy is just as our sages advise us in Pirkei Avot: find yourself a Rav (Rabbinical authority that you're comfortable with). In the end, we shouldn't be ashamed of our weaknesses unless we're doing nothing about them!

Quotation of the Week (thanks to David):

"It's more important to know what you believe in than to believe in what you know." -David R. Weiner

IM me on AOL or Instant Messenger as "DvarMan"

Have an terrifically amazing Shabbat!!!!!!


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