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Poisoned Speech Creates a Poisoned Home

Good Shabbos!

This week is a double Parsha, Parshas Tazria-Metzora, which focuses largely on Tzaras, a malady which can afflict a person, his garments or his house. This punishment, which has the effect of temporarily cutting a person off from society, is usually imposed for the sin of gossip, which tears apart the fabric of society. When a person finds Tzaras on his house, he needs to tell the Kohen so that the Kohen can inspect his house and diagnose whether it is Tzaras. When a person goes to tell the Kohen what occurred, the Torah says that he should tell the Kohen that he found something “like Tzaras” rather than saying he found Tzaras. The Divrei Dovid explains that the reason for this phrasing is to teach a person to develop humility and learn to say I am not sure.

Today, with the blessing of access to so much knowledge, we often need to take a step back and remind ourselves that we don’t know everything. Sometimes, we need to acknowledge that we don’t know everything about medicine, law, politics, sports and nuclear physics. This week let’s try to acknowledge the things we don’t know so that we can develop our humility and set the stage so that we can fulfill Ben Zoma’s definition of a wise person— he who learns from everyone.

Have a great Shabbos!

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