Sunday, April 10, 2011

Parashat Metzora

This week we are privileged to read the portion Metzorah. The Torah teaches us the laws of someone who was punished with tzoraas and the laws of negoim that appear on a home. The Torah also describes the offering that a metzorah has to bring after he is clean (cured).

Regarding the negoim the Torah teaches us that until the kohein says "tomei (impure)", it is not tomei, and the same is required to purify a nega. (See rash"I Vayikra 14/36).

The Chofetz Chaim explains that the reason for this law is, to teach us the value of words.  Whereas, tzoraas comes, for not being cautious with ones word, in the same way, it only becomes pure by word of the Kohein. The biggest scholar may give his opinion, it will still not change the status until a Kohein says Tomei or Tahor.

The Medrash tells us a story regarding a peddler who came to various cities and announced that he has a remedy for long life, whoever wants to live long, can come and buy. Rav Yanai was fascinated by this man and he approached him, as did many other people. The man took out a Tehillim and showed R' Yanai the phrase in Tehillim 34 who is the man who wants life, loves days to see good. Guard your tounge from speaking evil....

The question is what was so fascinating about what the man said ? The answer may be based on an anecdote told by The Zlatypoly Rebbe. Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev had once been thru Zlatypoly and met the local Rav (not the Zlatypoly Rebbe), and he noticed that the man was a man of a higher caliber. The Berdichever asked him "how he had obtained such a high level"? The Rav answered that in his youth he once came from a far way and stopped in a shul, tired and weak. When he entered the shul, the Rabbi repeated the Mishna in Avos 4/4 me'od me'od hevey shfal ruach, shetikvas enosh rima. "One shall be very very humble spirited, for the anticipated end of mortal man is worms". I was not fully able to follow the entire speech, said the Rav, however, after hearing those words I became a different man. Later, he found out that the Rabbi who was speaking at that time, was Reb Nochum of Chernobyl. The influence of a tzaddik can be so great, that although one may not be able to follow the depth of the lecture, the message can still penetrate.

Reb Shimon Zhelichover explained that Rav Yanai saw that this peddler's words, although they were simple, they had a tremedous influence, and that is what fascinated him.

May we always be influenced and influence others for the good. May we always merit to speak only positive words.

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