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Devar Torah from Rabbi Sasson

Parashat "Tazria-Metzora"

The Power of Speech

Every person has a special secret weapon: the power of speech. Judaism teaches us that talking properly, without gossip or slander (even if it is the truth) - is not only the right thing to do but also the best way to protect ourselves and others from all sorts of danger and spiritual damage.

Our double Torah portion tells us how in biblical times, when the Beth Hamikdash was standing, it was G-d Who gave humans a special warning which aimed to indicate to them when they were not speaking properly. They then had the ability to correct their negative behavior before it would result in damage or disease. 


There were three warnings given a person (perhaps this is the source of 'three strikes'?), before a disease came upon him as punishment.  Each warning was an opportunity to do something ASAP before it was too late.


The first warning was a blemish or stain on the wall inside one's home.  The blemish was  a warning to say: "Watch out! Something wrong is going on. Check it out."   One would have two choices: 

1) Tell the Cohen and accept methods of repentance. Then repent and go back to normal life. 

2) Say: "it is nothing", ignore it and move on.


The second warning was a blemish or  stain on one's clothing. This stain was a warning to say: "The disease is getting closer to you.  Do something and do it fast!" If one again chose to say: "it is nothing" and moved on, then came the third warning.


The third warning was leprosy!  Leprosy hurts a person and cannot be ignored.  This third warning  definitely required action.


But nowadays, when we are so careful about what we put in our mouths but not quite so careful about what comes out, we only have ourselves and our judgement to monitor what we say.   

May HaShem help us make every effort to use our secret weapons, our language and speech, for only good and in this way  bring only positive things into our lives.


Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Sasson

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