WUPJ's TORAH from around the world Tazria-Metsora

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Apr 14, 2010, 5:13:57 PM4/14/10
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Torah from around the world
ISSUE #14    14 April 2010  |  30 Nisan 5770
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The Ten Commandments of the Internet: on Parshat Tazria - Metsora

by Rabbi Pauline Bebe, Communauté Juive Libérale in Paris, France

Jewish Tradition, by a play on words, associates metsorato motsi shem ra [slandering] (TB, Ar. 15b); the one who is affected by the disease of tsoraat- a disease that no one is able to identify, since it affects people, houses and clothing - to one who utters literally "a bad name," who slanders. This association also comes from the biblical story (Numbers 12: 1) when Miriam, Moses' sister, says something bad about Moses' wife. We are not told what she says but Miriam is subsequently stricken with this same strange sickness. This disease is not something we might easily relate to today, especially the fact that a particular behavior would cause the immediate intervention of God, but what we can indeed easily relate to is gossiping or misusing our language. The Jewish tradition has always insisted on the correct use of language; works, such as the Havets Hayyim's Shemirat Halashon (1873; in "Sefer Shemirat Halashon", Israel Meir Hacohen), is but an example of the extensive literature in this domain.

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