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Shabbat 25 April 2015 – Parasha Tazria – Metzora

Shabbat comes in at 7.58pm & goes out at 9.06pm

Mazal tov to Mosaic Reform member Jane Prentice on her 60th birthday.  Jane is delighted to invite congregants to Kiddush after the service to celebrate this occasion.

In parshat Tazria-Metzora we read: “If a man has se’at, or sapa’hat, or baheret on the skin of his flesh, and it forms a lesion of tzara’at on the skin of his flesh, he shall be brought to Aharon the kohen, or to one of his sons, the kohanim” (Vayikra 13:2).

One could look at this parashah and decide that it is simply one of the more ‘practical’ ones, dealing with medical issues and meant to serve as a reference.  The rabbis of the Talmud took a slightly different approach.   They connect the tzara’at/disease to slander.

How many times have we stood idly by while we heard someone speak untruths about another, let alone contributed to the talk ourselves?

The rabbis of the Talmud deplored gossip and slanderous speech.  In fact, they ranked it as equal to the “big three;” the three absolute worst deeds a person could do.  The big three are the ones that a person should die rather than commit: idolatry, incest and murder.  They say that, “…talk…kills three people: the one who says it, the one who accepts it, and the one about whom it is told” (15b).   The rabbis make such a big deal out of slander and gossip because everyone is lessened by hurtful speech.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Paul Arberman

April 22, 2015