Tazria 5779-2019

“Death and Life are in the 'Hands' of the Tongue!”
(Revised and updated from Tazria 5760-2000)

We tend to dismiss the power of the tongue, and yet it is so powerful, that it often has the ability to give life and take life.

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Vayigash 5779-2018

“The Innocent Victim”

When Joseph asked, "Is my father still alive?" he was asking his brothers how could they have been so unconcerned for the feelings of their poor father Jacob, who for 22 years, was inconsolable over the loss of Joseph.

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Metzorah 5774-2014

“The Peddler and Evil Speech”

A well known Midrash tells of an encounter between the Talmudic scholar, Rabbi Yannai, and a peddler who taught the sage much about the importance of proper speech and the serious transgression of wanton, hurtful speech.

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Matot-Masei 5772-2012

“Words that Hurt, Words that Heal”

In parashat Matot, we are immediately confronted with the exceptional power of words.

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Matot 5768-2008

"Striving for Refined Speech"

In this week's parasha, parashat Matot, we learn of the injunction against profane speech. It is from here that we learn not only to avoid negative speech, but to always strive to make our speech as refined as possible.

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Tazria 5768-2008

"The Odd Ritual Practices of the Metzorah!"

In parashat Tazria we are taught that the metzorah, the person who is afflicted with the disease tzah'ra'aht for speaking lashon hara, must rend his clothes. He is also forbidden to cut his hair, must cover his mouth and head, and needs to call out publicly: "Contaminated, contaminated!" In addition, he is isolated from the rest of the community. What are the meanings of these rituals and behaviors, and what impact are they expected to have on gossipers and slanderers?

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Tazria 5765-2005

"Some Important Lessons That We Learn from the Ancient Biblical Tzara'at"

The laws of the Biblical disease, tzara'at, are complex, and seem rather irrelevant. By surveying the nuances of the text in parashat Tazria we learn many profound messages about judging others favorably, healing ourselves and coming closer to G-d.

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Tazria 5763-2003

"Tzaraat--The Spiritual Dermatological Disease"

According to Jewish tradition, the primary cause of the affliction tzaraat is lashon hara, speaking evil or slanderously of others. In ancient times, when one would speak evil of another person, a rash or infection would appear on the belongings or on the body of the perpetrator. On the surface, the assertion that one can develop a hideous skin rash from speaking evil seems quite preposterous, yet, there are many precedents for such things in life, science, and medicine.

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Tazria 5760-2000

"Death and Life are In the 'Hands' of the Tongue!"

We tend to dismiss the power of the tongue, and yet it has the ability to give life and to take life.

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0 Comments8 Minutes