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Dvar Tazira

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the concise, relevant Weekly Dvar. You can find this and many other of your favorite Emails in The Weekly Dvar: The Book! And best of all, it's free with any donation of $18 or more! Or you can read, pass on, respond or simply enjoy this...

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In this week's Parsha, Tazria, we're told about the discoloration (leprosy) that occurs when people, and sometimes even their property, get for speaking negatively about others (Lashon Hara). One interesting rule, however, is that even if it's blatantly obvious that one has leprosy, the laws pertaining to it do not apply until the Kohen (priest) declares it impure. Why would we need an 'official' to see and declare it if it's obvious what it is? Also, the Torah says that leprosy that's partially healed is considered as if it's clean (13:6). Why would a partial healing be adequate if there's still discoloration?

If we think about it, we can discover a great lesson from the Torah: the concept of having someone to go to for guidance. As Rabbi Twerski explains, showing your flaws to a Kohen should help you want to change them, because of the embarrassment. Another advantage is that if we have challenges that are hard for us to overcome, it would help if we talked to someone who might be able to guide us. In this case the expert was a Kohen, but if a suit of ours got dirty we would take it to professionals to clean, and we may even point out the stains. By the same token, we should treat our souls the same when cleansing ourselves of bad habits (both Halachic and personal), and a Rabbi happens to be the expert in the Biblical field. And the truth is that a partial healing is enough to purify the stain because it shows that there was effort to change. The lesson of the Kohen and the leprosy is just as our sages advise us in Pirkei Avot: find yourself a Rav (Rabbinical authority that you're comfortable with). In the end, we shouldn't be ashamed of our weaknesses unless we're doing nothing about them!

Quotation of the Week (thanks to Jonny):
"Anything free is worth what you pay for it."

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Last Updated: Thursday, April 07, 2005