Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursday's Parsha Tidbits - Parshas Metzora

The following is a brief summary of a thought said over by R' Frand on the parsha a number of years ago. I have attempted to reproduce this vort to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.

In Vayikra 14:4-7, the Torah discusses the sacrifice brought by a someone afflicted with tzara'as. As part of the atonement process, the Metzora takes two birds - one is slaughtered and used in the cleansing process, while the other is set free. Rashi on Vayikra 14:4 comments that the reason why birds are used is that they are constantly tweeting which is a reminder that the tzara'as punishment comes about because the person spoke loshon hara - evil speech which he prattled on about another person.

R' Frand asked - why is that one bird is killed while the other is released? He answered by making reference to one of the premiere examples of one who guarded his mouth from loshon hara - the Chofetz Chaim. R' Frand asked - would you have expected that the Chofetz Chaim was a "big talker" or a quiet person? He answered that those who knew the Chofetz Chaim recalled that he liked to shmooze. Why? To teach that a person does not need to sit mute in order to be properly mikayaim shmiras halashon.

R' Frand then brought a proof from the releasing of the second bird. The Klei Yakar explains that the bird which is killed is symbolic of the negative speech (which brought about the tzara'as) which needs to be cut off. However, people are also capable of positive speech and the bird which is released teaches us that we can make positive use of our power of speech.

R' Frand closed this thought by citing to a Minchas Asher which discussed a gemara about a peddler. When the peddler (in the term of the gemara a "rochel") came to the middle of the city he got up and announced - who wants the elixir of life? When the townsfolk approached, the peddler said who wants life - keep your mouth from speaking evil - making obvious reference to the pasuk in Tehillim. The gemara relates that Rav Yanai was touched by the episode. This is surprising as the peddler did no more than relate a well known line from Tehillim. However, the Minchas Asher explains that Rav Yanai was impacted not by what was said, but by who made the statement. The prohibition against tale telling is known as "rechilus" and it derives its name from the word "rochel" since the peddlers use to repeat gossip about people which the peddlers had learned in their travels. Since this peddler had not only managed to overcome this problem, but was actively encouraging others to avoid loshon hara, he made a great impact on Rav Yanai.

If you have seen this post being carried on another site please feel free to click to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!

No comments: