DVAR TORAH  Tazria-Metzora
This week’s Parsha describes the afflictions which may happen to us,
the examination by the Kohen, and the laws of the quarantine, if
The Mishna teaches us "that All afflictions one sees except their
own."  We are taught that no man can examine and evaluate their own
afflictions and conduct; another must help in pointing them out.  When
we notice character and behavior shortcomings in others we immediately
condemn and point them out with regularity.  We are very sensitive to
the poor behavior and lack of manners in others.
The Parsha of Metzora details the affliction of leprosy.  The rabbis
describe this affliction as the punishment for speaking ill of others
(lashon hara).  The Torah teaches us that disparaging other people,
gratuitously discussing their faults simply for the pleasure involved
is a sin against man and God.  Even more so the Torah forbids a Jew to
speak evil of another, and even to hint at another's shortcomings, it
is even forbidden to listen to evil talk.  Even the listener who says
nothing is denounced as committing a sin.
There is a story involving Hagaon R' Moshe Feinstein z'l, who had a
visitor come to visit him one morning while he was preparing to have his
breakfast.  The visitor sat with him while he was eating his breakfast
observing every move the Rav made.  At the end of the meal when Rav
Feinstein was about to drink his coffee, the visitor noticed that
there were two containers of milk on the table, each from a different
reputable company that produced Cholov Yisrael (special supervised
milk).  The Rav picked up one carton of milk, looked at it, and then
put it down.  He then took the other container and poured himself some
milk for his coffee.  The visitor immediately realized that the Rav
did not trust the supervision of the company listed on the first
carton and that the Hechser on the second carton was superior.  He
took it upon himself to spread the word that he personally saw that
the Rav did not trust company so and so, and in this way, he hoped to
protect the community from problems with Kashrut obstacles.  The rumor
succeeded in taking root.  Many distributors began to refuse to carry
the products of the non-reliable company, and the officials of the
company decided to meet with the Rav directly and to ask him why he
felt that their standards were not acceptable.  When they asked for an
explanation, he smiled at them and confirmed that he indeed did trust
them and that he even had a container of their milk in his
refrigerator at the very moment.  When they asked him why he had
refused to drink their milk that particular morning, he recalled the
incident and explained simply. The container was empty!"  It became
immediately apparent that the entire situation was a sorry and sad
case of Lashon Hara.






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