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LEVITICUS — 12:2 unclean

LEV129 Laws of spiritual impurity for a woman after childbirth. As to a woman's required separation from her husband for a certain span of time every month, our Sages reveal one of the major benefits: she is more beloved to her husband when the separation ends, and neither one will become repulsive to the other. This reason also applies to a woman who has given birth.


LEVITICUS — 13:2 he

LEV134 We must be aware that words can cause much damage. The Dubno Magid said that many people speak loshon hora because they are not fully aware of the power of the spoken word. How often people rationalize, "I didn't do anything to him, I only said a few words." The metzora, who has been afflicted with tzoraas because of his speaking loshon hora, is taught a lesson about the power of a single word. He must go to a priest who will decide if he is a metzora or not. Just one word by the priest ("Unclean!"), will completely isolate him from society. No more will the metzora minimize the destructive capability of words. (Ohel Yaakov, Metzora) Words can destroy. They can destroy someone's reputation. They can destroy friendships. They can destroy someone's successful business. Therefore, we must be as careful with them as we would be with explosive material.


LEVITICUS — 13:2 swelling

LEV135 The portion of "Tazria" serves as a lesson that we must refrain from speaking loshon hora. The entire portion of Tazria is a lesson in guarding one's tongue. The Rambam writes that the disease of tzoraas was a supernatural disease sent to warn someone to refrain from speaking loshon hora. There were three levels of tzoraas. The first attacked the person's house. If he repented, then it would spread no further. If, however, he continued speaking against others, his clothes would contract tzoraas. Again, if he repented, it would stop spreading. If he did not, then his body would be afflicted with tzoraas. (Hilchos Tumas Tzoraas 16:10). The Chofetz Chayim pointed out that from the severity of the tumah (spiritual uncleanliness) of the metzora (the person afflicted with tzoraas), we have an indication of the severity of loshon hora. This is the only type of tumah in which the person is required to stay entirely out of the camp or city where other people live. (Shmiras Haloshon 1:5). In accordance with the concept that tzoraas is a punishment for speaking loshon hora, the Chasan Sofer said that verse 2 points to three reasons why people might speak against others: 1) Sais (a rising). A person might speak against others to raise his own stature. Others have faults which he feels he does not have. 2) Sapachas (a scab): A person might join (sipuach) a group of people who speak against others. In ordinary circumstances he would not speak loshon hora, but he tries to be sociable and behave like people around him. 3) Baheres (a bright spot): A person might have done something against someone else, and in an attempt to exonerate himself, he speaks against that person. That is, he clarifies (bahir) the reason for his behavior. A person should be aware of his motive for speaking loshon hora and then work on correcting himself.


LEVITICUS — 13:2 tzaraas

LEV136 Laws of spiritual impurity observed by someone affected with tzara’as. The condition of tzara’as is meant to impress upon our souls that Hashem watches over His entire creation and is intimately aware of everything that each person thinks, says and does. Sin is the cause of this disease, and anyone who gets tzara’as is forbidden to think that he contracted it by chance. Our Sages say that most cases of tzara’as are due to the sin of lashon hara--derogatory or harmful speech about one's fellow Jew. Having spoken against his fellow Jew, the person must separate himself from society and go to the Kohen to show him the whiteness that has appeared on his skin. By associating with the Kohen, perhaps he will be moved to repent and abandon his sin. The Kohen places him in confinement for a few days, during which time he can carefully reflect upon his deeds, recognize his sin and repent. If his confinement does not cause him to repent, Hashem sends upon him more signs of tzara’as so that the Kohen will pronounce another period of confinement upon him. Perhaps he will now repent his sin and Hashem will rid him of the tzara’as for He is watching him all the while and knows his thoughts. If the sinner repents Hashem will cure him.


LEVITICUS — 13:33 shave

LEV137 Do not shave off the hairs immediately adjacent to a sign of tzara’as.... for only if the adjacent hair is left alone will the Kohen be able to determine whether the balding is spreading. Through this mitzvah, the afflicted person receives a hint that he must accept the woe and punishment that Hashem has sent upon him. He must not try to conceal or nullify what has happened. He must not rebel against his punishment. Rather he must accept it and beg for mercy so that Hashem will cure him.


LEVITICUS — 13:45 grow

LEV139 He who has tzara’as, and so, too, anyone whose spiritual impurity might be passed on to others, must publicize his condition. ... people who are spiritually impure and can pass the impurity onto others must let their condition be known, so that people will withdraw from them. Key concept: His separation from other people reminds him that his sin distanced him from all good. This realization will spur him to repentance. [As our Sages say, “Through his damaging words, he placed a separation between husband and wife, between man and his fellow. Therefore, out of the camp shall be his dwelling place.”] An important general principle: Heaven relates to each of us “measure for measure.” Just as the types of reward that we receive are fitting for our good deeds, the types of punishments we suffer are fitting for our transgressions. Hashem does not desire to punish, for at all He wants only to bestow blessing upon all who are deserving. By sinning, however, a person draws evil upon himself, for he makes himself unworthy of receiving the blessings that Hashem is eager to send. Temporarily, Hashem conceals His face from him, until he receives the punishment that is due him.


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