Tazria-Metzorah

Thoughts, questions, and discussions of all topics pertaining to Torah
Forum rules
1. Polite discourse only. No ad hominem attacks or any other name-calling
2. No politics.
3. No comparative religion, no bashing other religions.
4. NO MISSIONARIES! Not even for Karaites.
5. Moderators may delete or break links to other web sites.
6. This is an Orthodox forum. Attacks on Halacha will not be tolerated.
7. Moderators reserve full rights to edit and delete posts, and ban users.

Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Saronic » Sun Apr 03, 2011 4:44 pm

(I was asked to give the Dvar Torah to the Yeshiva this past Shabbos Night meal and I would like to share what I said there here. As an introduction, this weeks parsha is about someone who gets an affliction known as Tsa'ra'as... wrongfully translated as Leprosy.)


I don't know if we're allowed to say which Torah Portions we like better than others, but I can certainly say that I enjoy this Parsha's simplicity.

It depicts a very simple world - one in which if you do well, God rewards you, and if you do bad, God smites you.

And not the sulfur, fire and brimstone smiting like the First Book (of the 5,) and not like giant fireballs of ice (and/or lightning) smiting of the Second Book...

More of a "If you say Lashon Hara (mean gossip) about someone... you'll get eczema" kind of smiting... Which I think is quite a fair trade. God apparently likes to give out warnings.

As I was looking up sources (aka googling) for this Dvar Torah, I found page after page about Lashon Hara. Google loves Lashon Hara.... And I think Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks declared war on Wikileaks.

So I don't think I need to speak directly about Lashon Hara here...because I think everyone here understands the power of words, and that words matter. Words are matter. (The Hebrew word for word, דבר, davar, is the same word for thing/matter)

But what I will talk about is my question. And that question is: is it really so straightforward? Is life really so simple? Is there really such a cause-and-effect effect?

And I mean that seriously, not as some philosophical tangent that would lead to acrimonious debate. I want to know, l'ma'asah, (practically speaking,)

How can we become aware of our own Tsara'as?

And I know that's a very liberal, drushy (exegetical, homiletic) definition of Tsara'as...

The Rambam puts it best. He says that Tsa'ra'as is "a comprehensive, umbrella term covering a number of dissimilar conditions. Thus, whiteness on the skin is called Tsa'ra'as... Falling off of some of one's hair is called Tsara'as... A change in color in garments or in houses is also called Tsara'as..." (Hilkhos Tumas Tsara'as 16:10)

So, Tsa'ra'as is a way that God tells us hey, chill out. Look at what you're doing. You can do it better.

We all have things in our lives that are a pain. And I think they're opportunities for growth if we let them be just that.

And I think we can ask these questions only about ourselves and nobody else. After all, Tsa'ra'as is linked to Lashon Hara and we're not supposed to point fingers. Putting someone else down is not a way to grow yourself.

And I want to be very clear. I am NOT arguing for the necessity of Evil or the reason for Evil.

Before Purim I heard a Shabbos Drasha from Rav Schwartz (my Rebbe!), and he summarized The Rav (Rav Soloveitchik) from the book Community Covenant and Commitment as saying:

"Man should not ask why does evil happen, but rather, what can he do about it?" That is, what can WE do about it?

Those of us here, I think, know how to respond when we see people or houses afflicted. We, as a people, do as much as we can to help as many as we can.

I'm asking my question on this week's Parsha on smaller things, more personal things. What are we doing that's holding us back from being the best WE we can be?

A commentary on the Nesivos Shalom on Torah.org refers to tsara'as as "the loving touch of affliction," because it's exactly that: God's telling you hey, I want you to take some time and work on yourself. I don't want anything worse to happen to you.

The Chidushi HaRim (The first Rebbe of the Ger Chassidim) points out that the Hebrew words נגע (NeGO) "Affliction" and ענג (ONeG) "Delight/Satisfaction" have the same letters. It's all a matter of where you put your ע (Ayin= The Hebrew word for Eye.)

Looking back it's easier to see that the trials we've been through have made us stronger, better people. But in the time being, it's just scary.

So I ask everyone here to ask themselves honestly...

What is something that upsets me, and how is it an opportunity to grow?

What am I doing that's holding me back with my relationships with others(friends, family, God...etc.)?

We don't live in an age of open, in-your-face miracles. But there are miracles surrounding us every moment of every day. They're just hidden, sometimes in really terrible packages.

It's up to us to see the hints all around us. We just have to keep our eyes open.

I want to wish everyone a Good Shabbos, filled with lots of Shabbos Oneg!
Saronic
 
Posts: 58
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:04 am

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby rivka » Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:52 pm

Saronic wrote:And I think we can ask these questions only about ourselves and nobody else. After all, Tsa'ra'as is linked to Lashon Hara and we're not supposed to point fingers. Putting someone else down is not a way to grow yourself.
I think this is an absolutely critical point that all too many people miss.

Saronic wrote:The Chidushi HaRim (The first Rebbe of the Ger Chassidim) points out that the Hebrew words נגע (NeGO) "Affliction" and ענג (ONeG) "Delight/Satisfaction" have the same letters. It's all a matter of where you put your ע (Ayin= The Hebrew word for Eye.)
Nice.

Yasher koach, and thanks for sharing!
rivka
 
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:28 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby aries » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:01 pm

Actually I find the whole topic of Lashan HaRah here in Israel very depressing. All those Rabbis who groups hold huge rallies about Lashan HaRah have their own newspapers which insult and attack other Rabbis who were their allies last year. I think it is Lashan HaRah for one Sephardic Rabbi to call another Sephardic Rabbi in the same party Amalek. We won't discuss what the Litaaim write about the leader of the Sephardic group when they don't agree with his esteem prescence. As I said, I find it very depressing. I never heard of such disrespect before they started having those rallies against LaShon HaRah.
Aryeh Shore
aries
 
Posts: 332
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Enora » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:26 am

I think it is Lashan HaRah for one Sephardic Rabbi to call another Sephardic Rabbi in the same party Amalek.

It's politics.. and that is the problem. Now rabbi's tell people who to vote for and I have France's community in mind when most of them voted for this ...person... we have as a president now simply because Rabbi's encouraged them to do so. I have a real problem with a rabbi telling his congregants what political agenda to follow.
Enora
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Kira » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:23 am

The only thing worse is when congregants tell the rabbis what political agenda to follow.

I genuinely do not understand how newspapers can exist under the laws of Lashon Hara. With or without rallies.

I try to stay away as much as possible, and not "be mekabel" (100% believe) what I do read/hear.

Saronic, excellent Dvar Torah, thank you.

Recently, someone I know on another forum mentioned that they are not ready to live in Israel because of the level of Hashgacha (personal Divine attention) that we get here, which isn't always positive. When you mess up, you get slapped down. Like with Tzoraas, only not quite on that level.

On the other hand, how humiliating it must be for this sort of thing to happen. It's not like the neighbors won't notice.

-Kira
Kira
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:55 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Enora » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:21 am

The only thing worse is when congregants tell the rabbis what political agenda to follow.

Exactly! That's the source of the problem isn't it? lol

Recently, someone I know on another forum mentioned that they are not ready to live in Israel because of the level of Hashgacha (personal Divine attention) that we get here, which isn't always positive. When you mess up, you get slapped down. Like with Tzoraas, only not quite on that level.

Cheap excuse. If that person thinks jews outside of Israel don't get slap downs, they're living in a very comfortable place and are fortunate. Some people don't get what Galut really is. It's better to get slapped down with your brothers then in a host country. Your neighbor won't die to protect you or your children and you'll slowly slip into a schizo like situation where nobody considers your opinion "objective" because you're a jew and people start suspecting your "double allegiance" (with Israel) as treachery and there goes the rights you thought you had to speak out till you start wondering if you really are being objective ... I'm so fed up with having my opinions disregarded as "jewish paranoia". The massacre in Itamar was almost a revelation to me. It has confirmed everything I suspected. Our children aren't worth anything to the rest of the world and I'm not paranoid.
I prefer to be occasionally humiliated because of a mess up then constantly humiliated as a jew in a host country.
(and if anybody has some hot deal for real estate in Jerusalem contact me lol)
Enora
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby aries » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:29 am

That is funny. The excuse used to be that they can't come to Israel because it is not a place of Torah and people don't observe the Sabbat. Now he wants to say that the land is too holy for him. Well if you follow that line then anyone outside of Israel is worshipping idols and does not really do any mitzvot (it is just kind of practice for when you come to Israel). What religious jew wants to do that?
In any event we got a good deal of rain this year with some places getting above the average. This means that HaShem loves what we are doing and is rewarding the wonderful way we treat our poor and downtrodden so it is safe to come.
Aryeh Shore
aries
 
Posts: 332
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:07 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Enora » Wed Apr 13, 2011 12:28 pm

That is funny. The excuse used to be that they can't come to Israel because it is not a place of Torah and people don't observe the Sabbat. Now he wants to say that the land is too holy for him

:lol:
Enora
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:42 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby Kira » Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:50 pm

In any event we got a good deal of rain this year with some places getting above the average. This means that HaShem loves what we are doing and is rewarding the wonderful way we treat our poor and downtrodden so it is safe to come.
Err.. you're not being sarcastic, are you? I know it rained yesterday, but are we above average anywhere? And not sure about the poor and downtrodden...we try, at least judging by the chessed organizations, but then there are the Batei Din, which are a disaster... Maybe He's just being kind.

Now he wants to say that the land is too holy for him.
Yes, at least he's being honest about the personal fear. It really does take some getting used to, the whole "living among my people", "living in the king's palace", etc.

Totally worth it.

Enora, all real estate in Israel is a great deal, yes? Why raise your child in Galus??

-Kira
Kira
 
Posts: 596
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:55 pm

Re: Tazria-Metzorah

Postby aries » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:05 am

Yep we had above average or average rain so far in several sites in the upper Jordan River catchment area. Jerusalem was way under the average. No. I don't think that we have anyway of knowing why HaShem decides on the amount of rain we get. We just know that we should do repentance for our sins when threatened with disaster.
I am being satirical on those religious leaders who ascribe every natural disaster to some sin. Most absurdly the earthquake in Japan is due to the arrest of three Charedi ectasy mules. One was convicted and is already free in Israel. The other two are fighting it and have been stuck in Japanese prison for some years.

http://www.ims.gov.il/IMSEng/Tazpiot/RainObservations/

As for the poor and downtrodden, I presume many of you get the barrage of starving people before Pesach advertisements. There is no question that the people who get the food need it. The government decided that it was best that government officials don't distribute the food and it should be done though non-profits. (Otherwise you need thousands of government officials checking for welfare fraud.) What I object to is the million starving children ads. There will always be a million children under the proverty line because that is how Israel calculates it, i.e., the lowest 25% of income people are under the poverty line. The US is the only country where they actual calculate a poverty line based on the market. The statistics for this group in Israel have improved greatly in the last five years, e.g., 50% now own their own apartment and 80% have mobile phones. A 100,000 new jobs were added to economy in the last 12 months and unemployment is down to 6.1 percent.
Aryeh Shore
aries
 
Posts: 332
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:07 pm

Next

Return to Torah Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron