Please Learn in the Merit of:

Please learn for the merit of a complete recovery for the following individuals:

Ya'akov Don ben Esther Ahuvah Sharona
Avraham Yishayahu ben Aviva
Perel Leah bas Sima

Please learn in the merit/memory of Eyal ben Uriel, Gil-Ad Michael ben Ophir, Ya'akov Naftali ben Avraham, and Alter Aryeh Leib Reuven ben Sima

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shmiras HaLashon כ"ה תשרי - Tishrei 25 - Twenty-Fifth Day

© 2006 by Robert Lepor. All rights reserved.

Chapter 5

[In this Chapter, we] shall Explain [Concerning] the Punishment of the Habitual Speakers of Lashon HaRa

The punishment of the habitual speaker of Lashon HaRa is very great, for he brings afflictions upon himself though his speech, thus becoming a confirmed metzora[1]. [This follows that which] is written in [maseches] Arachin (15b): “[Rabbi Yochanan said in the name of Rabbi Yosi ben Zimra]: Afflictions come upon [the] one who speaks Lashon HaRa, as it says: “He who slanders his fellow in private, I shall cut him off[2] (Tehillim: 101; 5) The phrase “I shall cut off” is derived from the language describing the determination of the infliction of the confirmed metzora, as the Gemara[3] derives]: “Reish Lakish said: “This shall be the law of the metzoraמצורע (Vayikra: 14; 2) – the law of the Motzi Shem Ra[4]מוציא שם רע.”

Notice the extent of the severity to which the Torah deals with the impurity of the metzora. [The Torah treats the metzora’s impurity as] more severe than the impurity of the zav[5], the ba’al keri[6], and one impure from coming into contact with the dead. [In contrast to the zav and ba’al keri, the metzora] is not allowed to remain anywhere within the Israelite camp, as it says “He shall sit alone outside the camp of his habitation”. (Vayikra: 13; 46)

[Our Sages of Blessed Memory] have said [in maseches Arachin (16b)]: “What is unique about the metzora, concerning whom the Torah said “he shall sit alone…”? He caused [there to be separation between man and wife [and] between man and his fellow. Therefore the Torah decreed: He shall dwell in isolation. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levy said: What is unique about the metzora, [concerning whom] the Torah said he will bring two birds to purify himself? The Holy One, Blessed is He, said: [The metzora] performed an action of a babbler; he should bring a sacrifice of babblers.”[7]

[1] A confined metzora is a person who has the Kohen confirmed to have tzara'as.

I, in this verse, refers to HaShem.

Gemara” is Aramaic for “Talmud”.

[4] “Metzora” is one with a spiritual affliction, somewhat similar to leprosy – מצורע (Metzora) can also be read as a shortened version of the words "מוציא רע" as in "מוציא שם רע" (Motzi Shem Ra) – one who brings out an evil name by speaking slanderously against a person. "מוציא שם רע" usually refers to one who speaks slander about a person which is false.

[5] A male with gonorrhea who has one discharge becomes impure for the following twenty-four hours. If on the same or the following day he has a second discharge, he remains impure for a week. If there are three discharges, he must also bring a sacrifice after his week of impurity.

[6] One who has an emission of semen is impure and then immerses in a mikvah. Following the first nightfall after his immersion, he is pure.

“Babbler” can also refer to birds who incessantly chirp. In this context, we see that the metzora was afflicted with tzara'as due to his speaking that which is forbidden, likely due to his involvement in speaking excessively.

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