It’s Jasmine Hubara, from your favorite Rel/Ed GB.
This week’s parsha, Tazria, talks about diseases. And a lot of them. Two whole aliyot talk about skin disease. I mean, people today are crazed over wrinkles and preventing skin cancer, but how crazy would it be to have to worry about having these diseases from not being pure for seven days? According to the Torah, it’s really easy to become impure. One of the biggest causes of this tzara’at, the skin disease, is gossip (lashon harah).
I know that there are just some times that we see or hear something so utterly ridiculous that we just have to tell our best friend right exactly now. But do we ever stop to think about how our words might affect another person? Sure, we tell one person that so-and-so said such-and-such, but many times we don’t know the whole story and are passing on false information. While actions may speak louder than words, sometimes our words are so loud that they drown out everything else.
I once heard a story about a man who had told a rumor around his village. He went to the sages to ask what he should do next. The sages told him to return the next day with a bag of cotton balls. The man was confused, but he did so. When he returned to the sages the next day, they took him to the top of the village and told him to let all the cotton balls go. The man did as he was told, and, after the last cotton ball had been released, he asked the sages what that had to do with him spreading a rumor.
“Well,” the eldest sage said, “can you collect all the cotton balls now?” The man shook his head.
“I could get some of them,” he said. “But most of them are unreachable.”
“Exactly,” the wise sage said. “Like your words, you may be able to collect some of them, but others have rolled away, and you will never be able to take them back.”
We should try to keep in mind the consequences of our words and how they may hurt people.
Shalom Out and have a great Shabbat!