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Friday, April 28

The Weekly Shtikle - Tazria / Metzora

The main topic of this week's parshios, Tazria and Metzora is the sickness known as tzara'as. Tazria deals mainly with the assessment of tzara'as. In Metzora, we begin to discuss the recovery process. We find that a metzora must bring two birds after his tzara'as has gone away (14:4). One of the birds is slaughtered and the other is sent away. Why?


Rashi there writes that the reason why birds are brought is because they talk a lot and the reason why one becomes afflicted with tzara'as is because he spoke leshon hara. Be'er Moshe, in the introduction to chelek 3 of his teshuvos, (as well as a number of other commentaries,) explains that the slaughtering of the bird is to symbolize how we must be aware of when to keep our mouths shut and to prevent whatever negative words we were going to say. However, the most complete way to battle leshon hara is not by complete verbal repression. One must be able to speak normally, using his mouth for good, for divrei Torah. He must be able to converse with individuals but in a way that he watches his words and doesn't say anything wrong. Therefore, the second bird is sent out into the world symbolizing how one is supposed to go out and talk naturally, but the bird is first dipped in the blood of the dead bird, to show how he must always keep in mind his responsibilities to refrain from speaking evil.


The Chofetz Chaim encountered numerous challenges trying to get haskamos for his sefer on leshon hara. On one occasion, he was given a test where someone engaged him in conversation for 6 hours on all sorts of issues of the day. Yet, any time the conversation would gravitate towards the denigration of individuals, he would put a quick end to it. Indeed, the Chofetz Chaim was the true embodiment of the above.

Have a good Shabbos.

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:
Al Pi Cheshbon: Counting the Omer in Different Bases
Dikdukian: White Hair
Dikdukian: Meaining of "kibus" by Eliyahu Levin
Dikdukian: Various Dikduk Observations by Eliyahu Levin

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