A Jew must know not to dwell on the past. O.K.- you did an Aveira. Do T'shuva and move on. We sometimes fall into a rut contemplating how bad we are. THIS IS NOT WHAT HASHEM WANTS OF US! The past doesn’t presently exist. The Aveira was done and we should (and could) erase it. Now it’s time to move on! Don’t sadden yourself on what was. Rejoice on what could be!This Parsha tells us of the Metzora's purification.
The Possuk tells us that the Metzorah is brought out to the Kohain. Then it says the Kohain goes out to him. What's going on, who is coming and going? Really the Kohain goes out to the Metzorah. The reason the torah says the Metzorah is brought to the Kohain is to teach us an importantLESSON.
The Metzorah must bring himself to the realization and appreciation that his purification must come through the Kohain.LESSON:
We are able to gain much from Tzaddikim if we realize how much they can help us.FASCINATING SIDE POINT:
A Kohain who becomes a Metzorah, must be seen by another Kohain. This seems really weird. If I’m a doctor and I’m feeling sick, I can take care of myself. Why would I go see another doctor??LESSON:
A person can see everyone's faults except his own. It’s very hard to give a fair evaluation of how you (yourself) are doing. We tend to see the faults in others while overlooking our own shortcomings.POIGNANT PARABLE:
Rav Yisroel Salanter once commented; A person usually has one eye weaker than the other, The weaker eye is to see the faults in others, whereas the stronger eye is to see your own faults.
The “Johnson” family were on a trip to the country. Mr. Johnson flipped on the radio for a traffic and weather update. The traffic helicopter announced a sighting of a car traveling the wrong way on a one way street. Mrs. Johnson turned to her husband and said, “It’s not only one car going the wrong way, ALL the cars are going the wrong way.” (MISSED IT? IT WAS REALLY THEIR CAR GOING THE WRONG WAY. EVERYONE ELSE WAS FINE).Now that the Metzorah realizes his dependence on the Kohain, he will accept the Kohain's instruction for purification. let's see the meanings behind his purifications;
What the Metzorah brings 1) two birds 2) cedar wood 3) a dyed thread 4) a 'hyssop' bushWHY HE BRINGS THESE
1) Birds are constantly chirping. They're a reminder of his non-stop chatter. One bird was offered as a sacrifice, whereas the other was sent to the field. The one killed for the sacrifice represents the requirement to kill the habit of Lashon HaRah. The one sent to the field represents the potential to speak positive words which must be sent forth to be spoken.WHAT ELSE THE METZORAH DOES
2) A cedar tree stands tall and proud. The root of LASHON HaRah is the feeling of being above your fellow.
3) This woolen thread is dyed with a pigment from a snail or insect. This is a symbol of the new humility of the Metzorah.
4) The hyssop bush is a short bush. A clear lesson to the Metzorah to be humble.
The Kohain shaves the hair of the Metzora's body. The Torah mentions 3 partsWHY THESE PARTS ARE SHAVEN
1) THE HEAD
2) THE BEARD
3) THE EYEBROWS
1) THE HEAD is the highest part of the body. It represents haughtiness - being a big shot. The Metzorah thought he was a head above the rest, so now he's cut down to size (shaven to the scalp).AND NOW FOR THE GRAND FINALE...
2) THE BEARD surrounds or guards the mouth. It was through the mouth that he sinned. He should have put a muzzled on his mouth.
3) THE EYEBROWS surround the eyes. He looked down at his fellow and spoke bad of him.
On the 8th day of his purification, the Kohain brings Korbanot (sacrifices) on behalf of the Metzorah.
The Kohain takes blood from the Korban “asham” and places it on 3 parts of the Metzorah's Body.
1) The ear: The EAR covers the brain. This symbolizes the need to purify his Thoughts.
2) the thumb: The THUMB is the extension of the hand. This symbolizes the need to purify his actions.
3) the toe: The TOE is the extension of the foot. This symbolizes the need for him to move forward.
If the Metzorah cannot afford the regular Korban, there is a lesser amount he gives.LESSON:
Know your limits. Don’t overestimate what your means are. This applies not ONLY to money, but also to what you’re capable of. If you’re not at the level to do a certain saintly act, leave it for the meantime. Wait till you have more “money” in the “bank.” Hashem wants you to serve Him on your level, not the next guys.QUIP TO QUOTE:
Reb Zusia of Anipoli once said; “I’m not afraid when I get to Olam HaBoh if I’m asked; 'Why weren’t you Moshe Rabbeinu?' I wasn't given the abilities of Moshe Rabbeinu. But I fear the moment I’m asked why weren’t you REB ZUSIA ?!?!?” BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE-IN THE ARMY OF HASHEM! As you know, Tzora'at came upon a person’s home too. The Kohain would make a house call to determine whether the house was indeed struck by Tzora'at. If it was found to be so, the house was taken down. While the Metzorah was breaking down the walls of his house, he would find a treasure hidden there. It was placed there by the nation of Canaan. When they realized B’nei Yisroel were coming to take Eretz Yisroel, they hid their wealth in their homes. PRETTY COOL!LESSON 1: When everything seems to be collapsing around you, just then you’ll find a treasure.
The “Yehudi HaKadosh" once told his Chossid, Reb Simcha Bunim of P'shischa to set out for a trip. Although the Rebbe didn’t tell him where to go, Reb Simcha Bunim knew there was a reason behind the strange request. After hours of traveling with the Chassidim, Reb Simcha Bunim stopped the wagon at the inn to feed the group. They ordered a dairy meal, for they were concerned of the Kashrut of the unknown owner. “Sorry, but all I carry is meat meals.” The Chassidim asked a million and one questions about the standard of Kashrut of the meat. A voice came from a man behind the stove; “Chassidim-chassidim, why do you ask so many questions? Why are you SO careful what goes INTO your mouth? You ask every detail to know whether or not it’s permitted to eat. Yet, when it comes to the words that come OUT of your mouth, do you stop to THINK if it’s permitted?” Reb Simcha Bunim overheard the whole incident and realized the purpose of the Rebbe sending them on the mysterious journey. He gathered up the Chassidim and returned to the “Yehudi HaKadosh."Let’s see an amazing incident that took place approximately 40 years ago.
The “Yehudi Hakadosh-Holy Jew” wanted the Chassidim to understand that it’s more important to guard your tongue from Lashon HaRah than eating TRAIF!!!
Outside was fierce battling. Rav Elya Lopian was in the shelter, huddled with the fearful group. Would they survive the exploding bombs all around? A man suddenly called out, “they’re speaking Lashon HaRah here!” “Really?” Reb Elya asked in surprise, “Then we must leave this place right away!” The danger felt by Reb Elya Lopian was due to the Lashon HaRah being spoken. He ran through the streets, dodging the bullets and explosives till he found a physically and spiritually safe haven. Shortly afterwards, a bomb landed on the first shelter where the slanderers were!
(This little anecdote can send shivers up anyone’s spine) Reb Yitzchok Blazer died and appeared to his friend, Reb Chaim Berlin, in a dream. “The judgment in heaven is very strict, though the sins of the tongue are the most strict!”
On the Chofetz Chaim’s eightieth birthday, he made a party. He explained that everyone was aware of his carefulness not to speak Lashon HaRah. Had he not lived past eighty, some people might have used this as disproof to the verse: “Who is the man who desires life, loves days to see goodness? Guard your tongue!” And that would have been a terrible Chillul Hashem. All his life the Chofetz Chaim had lived in fear of this eventuality. But when he saw that the verse was fulfilled through him and that he had lived past eighty, he found reason to rejoice and thank Hashem. In actuality, the Chofetz Chaim lived almost 20 years past his 80th birthday!!!!THIS STORY IS A LESSON FOR US ALL; BELIEVE IN THE OUTCOME OF YOUR ACTIONS!
The Old City of Yerushalayim; Approximately 80 years ago, lived a woman who, for many years, wasn’t able to have children. This is her story. It was a long hard day of scrubbing and washing. Doing the laundry was no simple task. A lot of backbreaking work went into each piece of laundry to be cleaned. Finally the day was coming to an end. The sheets were spotless, ready to be hung to dry. She came into her home and collapsed from exhaustion. As she sat recovering from her exhausting day, she heard what seemed to be her whole day’s work down the drain. She ran out to find her sheets cut down from the line and lying in the mud. She was mortified. She saw her neighbor run inside with the scissors in hand. Although about to cry, she restrained herself and started the whole chore from the start. She wanted terribly to share her frustration with her husband, but restrained herself from speaking Lashon HaRah. (This story should end here, but there’s more). Soon after, the neighbor came to apologize. What inspired her? After her horrific act, she entered her home to find her son burning hot with a fever. She realized this was no mere coincidence and perhaps she was being punishing her for her cruel action only minutes earlier. The women forgave her neighbor with a complete heart, and the following year she was rewarded dearly for her silence. She gave birth to a son who grew up to be the greatest Halachic mind today; RAV ELIASHAV!
© 1998 by R' Matis Friedman, H.A.F.T.R.
R' Matis Friedman's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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