The Torah Portion of Tazria - Metzora
Excerpted and Translated from the the Teachings of Rabbi Gershon Steinberg ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben Chaim ztz"l
L'ilui Neshamat R' Yochanan Yitzchak Ben Nachum z"l
L'ilui Neshamat R' Yaakov Ben Matisyahu HaLevi z"l
L'ilui Neshamat Esther Mushka Bat Yaakov HaLevi z"l
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Deena Bat Tzion Bat Zehava
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Chaya Basha Bat Esther
L'refuat Hanefesh V'lrefuat Haguf L'Etan Naphtali Ben Zehava
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Rivkah Goldah Bat Chaya Basha
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Shimon Ben Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Simcha Pearl Bat Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Moshe Shlomo Ben Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Chaim Sh'muel Ben Rivkah Goldah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Avital Bat Rut
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Eliezer Yitzchak Ben Bracha Devorah
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Michael Itzhak Nesshael Ben Avital
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Naomi Chana Bat Chaya Basha
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'Refael Ben Masha Etel and
L'refuat Hanefesh V'l'refuat Haguf L'kol Am Yisrael V'l'geulah Hashleima Bekarov
It is written by Chazal (the Sages) that the Holy One Blessed Be He puts on Tefillin (Note -- this is not to be taken in a literal way but only in a figurative, symbolic way) and it is written within them "Who is like Your people Israel". Someone who speaks, G-d forbid, Lashon Hara (in English: "Evil Speech"), it is as if he were speaking against the Tefillin of the Holy One Blessed Be He, for within His Tefillin Hashem praises the people of Israel, and this person is speaking Lashon Hara against Israel. (based on Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev)
Rav Chaim of Volozhin says:
Why does the declaration of impurity and purification from plagues need to be done specifically by the Kohen who will say "You are pure" or "You are impure"? The reason is that generally the habitual speakers of Lashon Hara (evil speech) speak about the chosen ones of the people and about great Rabbis, and the Kohanim are the chosen ones.
Mussar (ethical teachings) for guarding one's tongue:
Rabban Gamliel said to his servant Tavi to bring him the most precious meat and he brought him an animal's tongue. Another time he told him to bring the most simple meat, and he brought him an animal's tongue again. Rabban Gamliel asked him, if a tongue is the most precious meat and also the most simple meat, isn't that a contradiction? He answered him, the tongue is able to be used for the good and also for the opposite, and that is why it is written that "Life and death are in the hand of the tongue".
The Tongue doesn't have bones
It's said that the tongue doesn't have within it bones, so that it is possible to turn it in any direction that one wants, and one needs to be concerned and guard it so that it will go in a good direction.
Parnassah (a livelihood) in Hebrew has the same letters as Peh Resen (reining in the tongue). Someone who want a livelihood should rein in (control) his tongue.
"This shall be the Torah of the Metzora on the day of his purification" (Vayikra 14:2)
It is written in the Chovot HaLevavot (the Gate of Submission, chapter 7): Someone who speaks Lashon Hara (evil speech) about his fellowman, all of his Mitzvot (good deeds) go to his fellowman and he receives all of his fellowman's sins. The Chatam Sofer (on the Torah portion of Tetzaveh) writes that if he repents, they (his Mitzvot) return to him. And that is what is meant by "This shall be the Torah of the Metzora on the day of his purification" (Vayikra 14:2), that the Torah that he learned will return to him of the day of his purification, that is to say when he repents.
"This shall be the Torah of the Metzora on the day of his purification, he shall be brought to the Kohen" (Vayikra 14:2)
The Chafetz Chaim wrote books on the topic of Lashon Hara (evil speech), and there is a hint here: one who wants to do Teshuva (repent) for the sin of Lashon Hara, "he shall be brought to the Kohen", he should learn the books of Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen (i.e. the Chafetz Chaim), and he will be healed.
It is written in the Holy Books that even though today plagues don't come on the body, they come on the soul.
There are people who think to themselves, what's the big deal if I spoke a few words about so-and-so? The Masters of Mussar (Ethics) epxlain, that also the Kohen only says two words "You're Pure" or "You're Impure", and that determines if he is pure or not.
The Torah Portion of Tazria has 67 verses, 5 positive commandments, and 5 negative commandments. The Torah Portion of Metzora has 90 verses, and 11 positive commandments.The Haftorah is "V'arba'ah Anashim" (Malachim 2:7)
We say a blessing for those who fast on Beit-Hey-Beit.
We read Pirkei Avot Chapter 2.
May you all have a light-filled and happy Shabbat.
L'ilui Neshamat HaGaon HaTzaddik R' Gershon Avigdor Ben R' Chaim ztz"l, Nilkach
L'Bait Olamo Yud Gimmel Tishrei 5772