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Parshat Metzorah


The word Leper is Metzora, which can be seen as an abbreviation for the word  מוציא (שם) רע,depicting slander.  As discussed in Parshat Tazria, leprosy is not a natural disease.  It is the result of seven sins, generally, Loshon Horoh, Loshon Horoh os worse than bloodshed. One who murders, murders but one person.  However one who speaks Loshon Horaoh kills three:  The one who speaks it, the one who hears it and the one who it is spoken of.

When a person speaks ill of his fellow man, he is considered to have violated the entire  חמישה חומשי תורה .The word "Torah" (law) is written here five times, once in the previous Parsha and four times here: This is the law of the leprous mark (13:59); This is the law of the Metzorah (14:2); This is the law of one who has the mark of leprosy (14:33; This is the law for every leprous mark (14:54); This is the law of leprosy(14:57). The study of the Five Books of the Torah, and the practice of the Mitzvos of the Torah are the best remedy against the flaws that bring about such afflictions.

The Metzora comes to realize that it is not his body that must be healed and corrected, but rather his behavior.  In spite of the fact that it is body that is stricken, his humiliated position is due to spiritual circumstances.  He is unclean and contaminates everything that comes in contact with him.  He must be isolated from society, since he is socially destructive.  He is given time to think about his failings and repent.

The Metzora suffers extreme humiliation by being exiled from his family and friends.  When he repents, Hashem, Who struck him with the disease, will remove the sign of affliction, and he will be able to purify himself and return to camp.  When the Kohein leaves the camp, people who see this holy man go, will escort him.  Younger kohanim will also go along to learn how afflictions are judged.  As a result, many people will see that the Metzorah has repented and he will be worthy of respect once again.

זאת תהיה תורת המצורע    This shall be the law of the leper

The word תהיהshall be,  denotes endless future time indicating that the laws of purification are not limited in time by the cessation of sacrifices in the Bais Hamikdash.  (Toras Kohanim)  

This obedience, due to his terrible suffering, will serve as a lifelong "Torah", law, even after he is cured. (R' Shmuel of Sochachov)


One balmy evening, the Chofetz Chaim was walking through the empty streets of his hometown, Radin, Suddenly, a man stopped his wagon and asked : "Where does the righteous Rabbi, the Tzaddik, the Chofetz Chaim live?"  The Chofetz Chaim replied : "First of all, he is not a Rabbi, second of all he is not a Tzaddik!"

"What are you talking about?", asked the stranger.  "Everyone knows that he is pious and righteous."

Again the Chofetz Chaim reiterated: "What everyone says means nothing. The world does not know him, but, I do! I know him well and I promise you, this is total exaggeration and overstatement!"

The stranger became enraged, spilling out vile curses from his mouth and striking the Chofetz Chaim with his whip a few times.

The Chofetz Chaim was filled with remorse at having caused another Jew to transgress.


Upon arriving home, the Chofetz Chaim found the stranger waiting for him.  When the stranger realized it was the Chofetz Chaim that he had cursed and struck, he nearly fainted!  The Chofetz Chaim reassured him and said: You did nothing wrong. I truly deserve to be stricken.  Not only is it forbidden to speak Loshon Horah about  others, he is also forbidden to speak Loshon Horah about himself!"

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