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    Talking about talk – M’ztora

    It’s strange to have a Torah portion that most people take metaphorically, but that’s what happens with M’tzora.

    Though the actual theme is leprosy, and the medical science of the Torah is interesting in itself, the sages said that its purpose is to warn us of the unpleasant consequences of evil talk, which harms the one who says it, the one that hears it and the one about whom they are speaking.

    It reminds me of a veteran rabbi who said that one of the best ways to prevent evil talk is to go to shule on Shabbat. Not just because people who know how to behave in shule stop themselves chatting with their neighbours, but not merely because it’s inappropriate but because when you’re busy listening to the Torah reading you have no time to get into conversations which tend to turn into exchanges of gossip.

    The Midrash says about the laws of leprosy that they are more of a blessing than a curse. The explanation might be that it does everyone good to have a warning about using the gift of speech wisely.

    M’tzora is a blessing in that it encourages us to weigh our words and find nice things to say about everyone.

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